09/21/2015 12:00 EDT | Updated 05/01/2016 01:52 EDT

Feel It In Your Bones: Superpowers You Developed With Age

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Portrait of senior couple in running gear outdoors

Getting older is a gift. It brings with it knowledge and a wealth of experiences that serve as comprehensive resources on how to live life. As our instincts become honed over time, we develop specific skills and talents that we simply didn’t have when we were younger. We develop… superpowers!

These powers help parents know when their son or daughter needs a reassuring phone call from mom or dad, or the feeling that a storm is rolling in without even hearing a weather report. Perhaps the American writer and activist Betty Friedan summed it up best: “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”

Cheers to that sentiment as we look at some of the benefits that come with the passage of time:

Don’t worry, be happy: Feeling content

Studies now confirm that as we get older, trust in our fellow man (and woman) increases, which, in turn, leads to a greater sense of happiness over time. Of course, it’s always better to feel happy instead of sadness or anger, but there are other benefits of an elevated mood. Research says that those who are happy are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices, from eating right to getting regular exercise and getting adequate sleep — all good habits that can lead to improved longevity.

Decision time: Quicker, faster, smarter choices

Contrary to popular belief, many of our cognitive abilities stay finely tuned through life. They don’t necessarily diminish. Decision-making is one of the skills that can stay strong. In fact, we learn to make choices more quickly because of the wealth of knowledge we have built up from a lifetime of learning. An older person may be even better at decisions than someone younger. And when it comes to finances, age has monetary benefits, too. Older adults have a talent for being conscientious about spending, saving and savvy financial planning.

Honest to goodness: Finding truth in everyday life

Time gives us the ability to read people well. Are those friends being truthful when they say they can’t come to a dinner party because of a prior commitment? Did your son really complete his homework before playing video games? With maturity, you develop a keen sense of what’s true and what’s fiction. This kind of wisdom is helpful at any age.

Body talk: Being in tune with changes

After so many years of seeing how your body reacts under various conditions, you learned to read it very well and pick up on the appearances of changes and symptoms earlier. There’s no need to wait until there’s a health crisis. You know when to take action, choose the right medication as needed in response to aches and joint pain. We know how to head off health crises before they worsen, whether it’s discomfort due to arthritis or a head cold.

Total recall: Sharp memories of times past

Remember when…? Chances are you can remember as you age despite the widely held belief that aging means forgetfulness. Throughout our lives, we preserve the ability to recall memories of past events stored in our brains. That not only makes you an amazing Trivial Pursuit player, it also allows you to recall with uncanny accuracy anniversaries, birthdays, song and movie titles, places and face plus dates and details of significant life events.

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