Rising Through Resilience: Ariele Lanning On The Five Things You Can Do To Become More Resilient During Turbulent Times
An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
Practice the Pause. When you feel an uncomfortable feeling arise, pause before reacting. So often we spit out the first thing that comes to mind when we are triggered, not realizing that this trigger is showing up to communicate with us. Practicing the pause can help us determine if the thing that wants to come our of our mouth, is actually for the present moment. Not just a reoccurring, wired response to the past.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ariele Lanning
Ariele Lanning is a trauma-informed yoga and spirituality teacher with a passion for redefining life and death. Her Master’s in Organizational Management, with a specialization in Human Recourses, initiated a curiosity of people and how they best operate, individually and collectively. Yoga helped her understand that mental and physical health is not a matter separate from mindset and employment, but a combination, balance, and reverence between self and other.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Hello! I started yoga in 2016 to manage my new-mom back pain. However, I quickly realized how much more it had to offer. Each day, I made it a priority to get on my mat, knowing that it would significantly improve the quality of my day.
In 2019, I received my first yoga certification and began teaching. The training transformed my life, allowing me to strip away the distractions and point me in the direction of my soul purpose. I now write young adult fiction novels with the high hopes of instilling more spacious, grounded views in the future generations.
I took my advanced yoga certification in 2020, and now, I continue studying the technology of yoga by auditing teacher trainings at the studio where I teach. When I received my Reiki training, I was able to access my own intuitive gifts and establish a better understanding in the arts of energetic healing. My practice opened the door, my consistently striped away the mental blocks, and Reiki taught me how to harness the power beneath it all.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Above all, my husband. He is continuously supportive of my learning, healing journey and never questions when I pick up a new interest and find a new training to attend. He allows me to explore everything that strikes my fancy and encourages me to step outside of my comfort zone. I am indefinitely grateful for him.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
I would define resilience as an individual’s capacity to absorb, process, and overcome difficulties through awareness and self-compassion. Resilient people are those who hold their difficulties and learn from them. They analyze and observe what is happening within, and around, so that they may hold a wider view when undesirable situations arise. Broader perspectives grant understanding, empathy, and trust in self to recover and grow throughout any scenario. All of these aspects depend on an individual’s relationship with their nervous system.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
An individual’s ability to be courageous depends on their resilience. When we have learned to show up regardless of feeling fear, because we can hold that fear without becoming it, we are courageous. However, we can’t do that if our internal wiring turns on our sympathetic nervous system and causes us to react from our reptilian brain (our first instincts, primal basic needs). Courage isn’t a choice someone spontaneously decides to make. Courage is a benefit of growth. Courage is a trait we gain after learning from past mistakes and viewing them with grace. It is from resilience, built from self-awareness, that courage is birthed in small increments. As these moments show up more and more, courage can become a natural tendency.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
My mentor and teacher, Sandra Vanatko. She represents compassion and self-awareness in a way that inspires me daily. When I was little, I remember teachers always asking me who I looked up to. I would think of every adult I knew, and no one seemed happy. There was no one I wanted to be like when I grew up. Now, at 32 years old, I finally know someone who flows with life. Someone who feels their pain, embodies their passion, compassionately holds space for others, and recognizes that we are but students for life. She inspires me not to be like her, but to be the best version of me. I think we all could use a little more of that.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
The illusion of “impossible” will tell one exactly where their outdated belief systems rest. Think of a goal or dream you would follow if you were promised you would succeed. Now, think of the reason you aren’t following it. That is your big red flashing light announcing, “heal here”. Any belief that hinders an individual’s personal fuel to chase a goal, is a perspective ingrained by experience. One experience. Not a premeditative, predictive outcome to every future attempt. I have witnessed the defiance of “impossible” so many times that I don’t believe in the word anymore. Impossible is nothing but a perceived limitation created by past experience and adopted perceptions.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
One of my best friends passed away recently. As I try to process and hold the grief, I feel the rising of a familiar pain. A hopelessness that had once buried me in depression and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
In my past, the tragedy of a friend’s death was managed with alcohol and prescription medication. However, this time the experience is much different. This time, I am able to visit the pain and feel it, without becoming it. Feeling safe in the exploration of my emotions allows me to acknowledge their presence without judgement or resistance. Visiting controlled discomfort on the mat has taught me how to compartmentalize and visit pain off the mat. With a better understanding of emotions, and how they affect us physically, I’ve been able to develop more compassion and patience with the process of grief. When I was young, I carried a very sinical, victim-based inner narrator. This caused me to freeze, and numb out, when faced with trauma. However, since beginning yoga and working on my own inner framework, emotionally and physically, I have become more resilient and accepting. This allows me to process my grief on a moment-to-moment basis. Holding what arises with loving arms, and not allowing the pain to run my thoughts into extreme pessimism.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
I had resiliency growing up but it was fueled with spite and the illusion of being “tough”. I was the tough one, the backbone, and the guard dog. I got up quickly but not because I was recharged. It was because I wasn’t going to let anything kick me while “I was down’. As a “tough” girl, it took a lot for me to begin witnessing myself. The more yoga took me inwards, the more I began to learn that my reaction time wasn’t strength but a sympathetic nervous system response. I lived in chronic stress, constantly prepared for the next attack. While we called it anxiety and treated it with medication, we never looked at it like a system that could be approached and healed. It wasn’t until I became a yoga teacher that I realized that my physical and mental health were being severely injured by my inability to settle into my parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest nervous system). Once I tapped into that calm, blissful state, I was able to witness how stressful my habitual state of being was.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
Resiliency depends on our nervous system. Throw out the idea that “staying positive” is the sole key to happiness. “Staying positive” is chemically impossible if your nervous system isn’t balanced. The way we begin to work with the nervous system is through the breath.
5 Steps to Becoming more Resilient:
- Breathwork. Start with inhaling for 4 and exhaling for 6. If it is difficult at first, start with inhaling for 4 and exhaling for 4. Increase the exhale to 6 as it becomes more accessible. Making the exhale longer than the inhale activates the rest and digest nervous system and releases chemicals that help us settle. Practice daily or in moments of discomfort. Repeat until your body feels like home again.
- Meditation. The brain is a muscle. As we work with that muscle, we help rewire the circuitry that makes us less patient, unaccepting, and resistant. All of these feelings are induced by past trauma. Meditation helps us witness and examine.
- Practice the Pause. When you feel an uncomfortable feeling arise, pause before reacting. So often we spit out the first thing that comes to mind when we are triggered, not realizing that this trigger is showing up to communicate with us. Practicing the pause can help us determine if the thing that wants to come our of our mouth, is actually for the present moment. Not just a reoccurring, wired response to the past.
- Yoga. Conscious movement is medicine. As we deepen the breath and bring our awareness into the body, we activate a wide variety of benefits that range from physical to mental.
- Change it up. Learn something new. When we give our perspectives a breath of fresh air, we often see that our old mindsets are no longer serving us. Most often, all we really need is a new way of looking at things.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
If I could inspire any movement, it would be to redefine health in society. The educational, medical, and prison systems alike need to be redefined and reestablished. We have more than enough scientific studies to conclude that the quality of life depends on mental, spiritual, and physical health. The illusion that one stands separate from the other has caused more than enough suffering. We need these systems to become trauma-informed and healing oriented. Tomorrow could be so bright, if only the media could see hope as trendy.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)
Marianne Williamson. She will take more compassion to the top, where it is needed most.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Instagram and Tik Tok: @thepresentbeliever
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
About The Interviewer: Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and to cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified wellness coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), stage 3 cancer survivor, podcaster, writer, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC.
Savio pens a weekly newsletter at thehumanresolve.com where he delves into secrets from living smarter to feeding your “three brains” — head 🧠, heart 💓, and gut 🤰 — in hopes of connecting the dots to those sticky parts in our nature that matter.
He has been featured on Fox News, and has collaborated with Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, Food Network, WW, and Bloomberg. His mission is to offer clients, listeners, and viewers alike tangible takeaways in living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.
Savio lives in the suburbs of Westchester County, New York and continues to follow his boundless curiosity. He hopes to one day live out a childhood fantasy and explore outer space.