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How to Keep Calm when Everything Seems Mad


Just like you, there are times when I definitely do not feel or act calm. Whether you are a parent of an autistic child or not, as long as we walk this Earth, we will be periodically “blitzed” by life. However for me, one of the great rewards of being Chase’s Mom is that he inspires calm, and is a source of calm in my life.

He seems hardwired to reject, and in his own ways, fight against the negativity and stress that life, at times, may conjures up. When disruption or disappointment strikes, Chase will often say, “Look at the bright side Mom.” He has an incredible knack for finding the good in everyone and every situation. Something I find easier said than done sometimes, but his perspective and coping strategy are indeed correct, and we all need to take note and be reminded now and then.

I remember the first time I really understood how helpful and healing Chase’s optimism really was. It was the day we realized that we accidentally left Chase’s scooter at the park. I didn’t realize we had left it there until the next day. I was in the middle of beating myself up for being so forgetful, and also trying to remember how much I paid for it, so I could budget in the purchase of a new one. Chase could sense my frustration but couldn’t understand it. To him, there was no reason to be upset. He nonchalantly says to me, “Look on the bright side Mom, at least we made someone else’s day. Now someone has a really cool scooter.”

How do you argue with that? Once I saw the situation from that viewpoint, I felt so much better. Sure, Chase gets upset, disappointed, or scared at times like anyone else. But all the while he is determined to push his way through tears and fears, and get to “the bright side.” He refuses to hold on to the negative thoughts and feelings that most people can find themselves drowning in.

Beyond the calm that Chase brings to my life, I find that the wisdom of the ages still holds true: quiet time, healthy relationships, balanced nutrition, exercise, receiving wise counsel, practicing patience and forgiveness of self and others, finding ways to help others, and things that simply bring you joy – all of these things usher in and maintain calm in our lives.

We’re all different from one another, and each of these components looks differently in each of our lives. Some need and desire more quiet time or exercise than others; what is a healthy diet for one person might be toxic for another; and the things that bring one person joy may be a nightmare for another. But I firmly believe that in order to have calm, all of these components need to be present in all of our lives, in whatever form is healthy for you.

Together with her teenage son Chase, Mary Bailey is the co-creator of Chase ‘N Yur Face, a free online resource designed to inspire children and families to celebrate life—from the simple to the spectacular. In 2014, Mary made the decision to step down from her corporate job in order to home school her son who, as a toddler, was diagnosed with autism. Today, the single mom and entrepreneur creates her son’s curriculum which revolves around his love of cooking. Through this journey, her goal is to help Chase become a self-sufficient adult, as well as to establish a foundation for people like Chase, who need a helping hand to make their dreams achievable.
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