Aging brings turkey necks, "senior moments" and sagging bodies. Sounds pretty dismal, right? It would -- if that represented the complete picture. In actuality, growing older for most people isn't all that bad, even in our youth-obsessed culture. In fact, it can be quite spectacular on many fronts. Below are nine aging facts that will actually make you feel great about the multitude of candles on your cake.

You most likely are happier than you used to be.

One recent study found that people were happiest in youth and then again in their 70s and early 80s. They were least happy during middle age. A similar study out of the University of Chicago found that levels of happiness climbed between the ages of 65 and 85 -- and beyond. Why? Some experts believe it is because older people are able to tap into the toolbox of social and emotional instincts they've built with experience. “It’s a very encouraging fact that we can expect to be happier in our early 80s than we were in our 20s,” Andrew J. Oswald, a professor of psychology at Warwick Business School, told the New York Times. “And it’s not being driven predominantly by things that happen in life. It’s something very deep and quite human that seems to be driving this.”

In some ways, your mind may actually be sharper.

A University of Illinois study found that older air traffic controllers excelled at their mentally tough jobs -- and performed as well as younger peers -- because they were so good at navigation and at handling several airplanes at once. In short, they were able to overcome any weaknesses by tapping into their wealth of experience. For those of you worried about staying sharp, challenge your brain by performing mental exercises and don't buy in to the negative stereotypes associated with aging and memory.

You are able to handle social conflicts more effectively.

A University of Michigan study found that older people are better at reasoning when it comes to social dilemmas and conflicts. When presented with various stories about conflict, they specifically are more adept at understanding different perspectives, suggesting compromises and coming up with several reasonable resolutions.


Read the full article "9 Facts About Aging That Will Actually Get You Excited" at The Huffington Post