A Seasonal Reflection on Doing Good

April 15, 2019

A message from the Executive Director, Nancy J. Minghetti

Don't you just love the feeling of a sense of renewal and anticipation?

As I write this greeting, spring is in the air along with the new beginnings that accompany it. This season inspires me both personally and professionally. Which brings me to share a reflection. 

People often ask me how I remain so enthusiastic about the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation’s work after over 30 years of my connection to it. It’s a lot of things, but maybe it all can be melted down to one thing: having a purpose is good for body and brain. 

The 'transformative purpose' of the ASHFoundation grounds me. What can be more motivating than knowing that our daily work with exceptionally talented innovators means that communication sciences—and the many children and adults who face communication challenges—will benefit from fresh thinking, new perspectives, and discovery?

Science supports the premise that helping others gives us a sense of purpose. And there’s more, says Dr. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who has been studying the effects of positive emotions, such as compassion and kindness, on the brain since the 1990s. He states that the brain behaves differently during an act of generosity. "When we engage in acts of generosity, those experiences of positive emotion may be more enduring and outlast the specific episode in which we are engaged."

Which brings me to express how grateful I feel for the love and support that our dedicated donors share with the ASHFoundation. Again, science gives me a 'light bulb' moment. Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis, states: "Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life. It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep." How about that? Gratitude doesn’t just make me feel like a better person, it’s actually good for my health! 

Think about what’s important to you. Maybe you will discover ways to bring some new, even bold, thinking to your charitable giving goals this year, or your volunteer efforts, or spark an idea to bring breakthroughs to your work. Being part of something larger might be one of the best things we can do.

Yes, spring is in the air. How about using mother nature as your jumping off point to influence and inspire your memorable ASHFoundation involvement for 2019? Along the way, you just might discover increased joy, fresh new rituals, and a healthier outlook to boost your energy and sustain it.