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Global Wellness Institute collaborates with the Vatican on ‘Resetting the World with Wellness’

Global Wellness Institute collaborates with the Vatican on ‘Resetting the World with Wellness’
June 5, 2020

As part of a new commission created by Pope Francis’s to create a better world post-COVID, the Global Wellness Institute is contributing a series of white papers on how wellness can provide a roadmap for world healing and growth

In early April, Pope Francis announced a new COVID-19 commission focused not only on confronting the current Coronavirus crisis but also to create a better, healthier and more just world in the aftermath of the Coronavirus epidemic.

With the Catholic Church having commenced the ambitious new initiative, the future of health and wellness is seen as a key pillar of the move (in addition to ecology, economics and public security), and the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) is producing a series of eight white papers proposing how a holistic concept of wellness could transform human life, including our workplaces, our built environment and our mental wellbeing.

Katherine Johnson and Ophelia Yeung, GWI’s Senior Researchers and Directors of the Vatican project, called ‘Resetting the World with Wellness’, advised “we are deeply honoured by the opportunity to collaborate on this important Vatican initiative.

“Wellness is a vital concept to reset the world after COVID-19. Not only does wellness link mind, body, and spirit, it connects our individual self with community and planetary wellbeing and to our personal search for meaning, purpose and transcendence.”

The Vatican’s COVID-19 Commission
Pope Francis created the Vatican’s COVID-19 commission to “express the Church’s love for the entire human family during the pandemic” and because he’s convinced that we’re living through “a time of epochal change” and have an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on how to solve the socioeconomic, environmental and health challenges looming in our future. 

The commission is led by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD); coordinated by Cardinal Peter Turkson (DPIHD Prefect), Mons. Bruno-Marie Duffé (Secretary), and Fr. Augusto Zampini (Adjunct Secretary); and divided into five working groups, each addressing a different aspect of the pandemic.

GWI is part of Working Group 2, which brings together public and private institutions, universities, the pontifical academies, social movements, and leading economists and entrepreneurs to create new research and thinking about a post-COVID future.

As Cardinal Turkson explains “Group 2 has the task of night watch, like the sentry, to perceive the dawn. To do this, it is necessary to connect the best minds in the areas of ecology, the economy, health and public security. 

“We need the concreteness of science … and prophecy and creativity.” 

On top of supporting medical providers, the health taskforce has a mission of addressing the flaws in modern healthcare systems and promoting ‘integral health’ (or wellness) and all its components: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social and environmental wellbeing.

The new resources will reach church leaders and the Vatican network, as well as global leaders and ordinary people, bringing GWI’s research to a vast audience.

GWI’s Vatican papers
GWI’s white papers for the Vatican integrate facts, data, and best practices; employ interdisciplinary thinking; and are a call to action, recommending strategies that could help ‘reset’ the world post-pandemic - with a new focus on prevention and a proactive wellness-based mindset.

Six of the eight papers have already been published:

1. A New Vision for a Post COVID-19 Future summarizes the key concepts and practices of wellness and outlines how wellness can provide a roadmap for healing and growth as the world emerges from the pandemic.

2. Healthy Built Environments for Healthy People describes how our unhealthy built environment can cause both chronic and infectious diseases, as well as the roles that communities, businesses and governments can play in building healthier homes and communities for healthier people.

3. Work, Health and Dignity spotlights how the dangerous, unhealthy, inequitable and stressful work conditions that have been exposed by COVID-19 can spark a collective will for radical change that is necessary to bring health and dignity back to our working lives and workplaces.

4. Staying Active, examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the global physical activity crisis; why this decline is causing alarm among the global public health community; and why it is a personal responsibility to incorporate movement into our daily lives.

5. Mental Resilience in a Time of Stress and Trauma looks at how the pandemic is taking a toll on the world’s mental wellbeing and how this acute stress could have a lifelong impact. The white paper also explores how to harness neuroplasticity and wellness approaches to increase stress resilience.

6. Human Connection in a Time of Physical Distancing explores how COVID-19 is dramatically worsening the global loneliness crisis; why loneliness is a killer; how we must reject a ‘digital everything’ world post-pandemic and what individuals, communities and governments can do to tackle the global loneliness crisis.

In the coming weeks, GWI will release additional white papers on the following topics: food and nourishment, and travel and wonder.

Click here to access the papers.

Images: The Vatican (top) and Pope Francis (below).

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