As an athlete and a performance physiologist, Greg Wells, PhD, understands wellbeing and human potential both from personal experience and scientific research.
The Casey Fellows Program for Mental Health and Student Wellbeing sees the College hosting world-renowned experts in health and wellbeing, thanks to the generosity of donor Matthew Casey ’83. The program is now in its third year, and "allows the Fellow to share leading research in the field and provide practical strategies on a specific wellbeing topic," says Dean of Student Life and Wellbeing Scott Cowie, who cites the program as "relevant and meaningful."
Wells has dedicated his career to exploring and researching human limits and making that science understandable and actionable. He is currently a scientist in translational medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children, where his research is focused on improving outcomes in children with chronic diseases via physical activity. He also runs Wells Performance, a company focused on improving human potential. Previously, Wells spent 20 years as a professor at the University of Toronto and was the director of sport science for the Canadian Sport Centre, serving as a physiologist for international-level athletes. An athlete himself, he has competed in events such as the Ironman Triathlon.
His lectures for UCC will focus on the link between wellbeing and human potential. Wells has been asked to address faculty and staff, students and parents in separate talks. He plans to offer not only the big picture, but tactics for reaching or guiding others to achieve their potential.
"I want to help UCC create a healthy, high-performance culture, and that involves the entire community," Wells says. "We need guidance more than ever, since anxiety and depression rates are up about 20 per cent as a result of the pandemic. I hope my information and tactics will help set the stage for a healthy mindset."
In his recent talk for faculty and staff, Wells discussed the latest neuroscience research on learning, reflection and creativity and emphasized the physiological rationale for slowing down in order to speed up.
"I’m as Type A as they come and I know that it seems very counterintuitive to pause and take breaks, but by doing less, we accomplish more."
Wells notes that the jobs of the future won’t rely on accomplishing as many tasks as possible in a certain period of time.
"Those tasks will be accomplished using artificial intelligence, and our work will focus on innovation, problem solving, agile thinking and rapid learning, all made possible by neuropsychology," he says.
When talking to students, he’ll discuss the mind-body connection, sleep, food, exercise and focus, and staying "dialled in on things they can do themselves." In talking to parents, Wells will focus on habits, routines and protocols at home that contribute to wellbeing.
"We'll look at how to move forward to unleash human potential," Wells says. "When you do your best work around what your passions are, you have the greatest impact on the world."
Dr. Wells delivered a virtual talk on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.
and you can access a recording of the event here
, with passcode: