Dear friend,

The pediatric ICU is a place where the sick innocent secure health and healing. It is also a place where the visiting parents carry pain and fear in their eyes. The sight of the precious little souls wrapped in wires and bandages, with the sound of ventilators and monitors filling the room, can jar the most stoic hearts.

Think also about the doctors and nurses who spend most of their days within those four walls. I know a few of them as close friends and colleagues.

Recently, a pediatric ICU physician asked me, “How do I help parents who come to the ICU to see their child? How do I tell them to stay positive?”

I thought about it for a while. Asking parents to feel positive emotions in the pediatric ICU is like asking fish to breathe on land. Here is what I suggested.

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“Asking them to feel cheerful may not work. A better approach is to bring kind attention to the eyes. When they see their child and other children in the ICU, let them bless every child. Fear and sadness fade in the eyes filled with blessings.”

In today’s world, we risk seeing every other person as a carrier of a serious infection. While following the physical distancing protocol, instead of fearing the other person, send them a silent good wish. It might momentarily lift you.

During challenging times, kindness to others and self is one path to positive emotions that your mind won’t resist.

Stay well.


Dr. Amit Sood answers your questions about stress, resilience, happiness, relationships, and related topics in his column. Email