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Brighter Days: 7 Top Tips for Increasing Esteem

Jennifer Bright on

If your internal dialogue has gone from, "I think I can; I think I can; I think I can" to, "What the heck was I thinking? I know I can't. I might as well go back to bed" -- a major esteem boost is in order!

But how? Simply paying attention to your body and emotions can improve your health and self-esteem. In a study of women who were pregnant with their first babies, those who were trained to be mindful of their physical and emotional feelings reported higher levels of well-being and self-esteem than pregnant women who weren't trained to be mindful.

Even on days when it feels like no one is listening to you, at least you can listen to yourself! What are you telling yourself? Speak a little more kindly, please!

Here's what our Mommy M.D.s -- doctors who are also mothers -- do to increase their own self-esteem.

"On days when I need an esteem boost, I wear my best-fitting Lucky jeans," says Jennifer Gardner, M.D., a mom of one son, a pediatrician and the founder of an online child wellness and weight management company, Healthy Kids Company, in Washington, D.C. "That does the trick! But if I am at the hospital (where jeans are not an option), I wear a great pair of shoes instead."

"I'm not big on dressing fancy or wearing a lot of makeup day to day," says Stacey Weiland, M.D., a mom of three and a gastroenterologist in Denver. "I usually wear blue jeans and sneakers! When my husband and I go out, it makes me feel extra special. Also, I get my nails and eyebrows done every few weeks, and that makes me feel great and boosts my esteem."

"After many years of lecturing and writing, I feel like I have something to stand on now," says Nancy Rappaport, M.D., a mom of three grown children, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, an attending child and adolescent psychiatrist in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, public schools and author of "The Behavior Code." "When I see other people recognize confidence in me, I am able to recognize it in myself."


"In my job, I have to go to court to testify in child abuse cases," says Amy Barton, M.D., a mom of three and a pediatrician at St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise, Idaho. "The best way to boost my self-esteem is to put on a well-made, well-fitted suit. That always makes me feel good. I can get away with wearing an inexpensive T-shirt underneath, as long as the suit is good quality."

"When I started working at the hospital, one of my mentors told me, 'You should wear brighter colors.' She was right!" says Eva Mayer, M.D., a mom of a daughter and a son, an associate professor of pediatrics at Temple University and a pediatrician with St. Luke's Pediatrics Associates in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. "I started to dress in brighter colors, and that has gone hand in hand with my confidence. My style completely changed. I have a bright red coat, and it's my absolute favorite. Wearing it makes me happy!"

"We moms do plenty of clothes shopping for our kids!" says Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, M.D., a mom of two daughters, a pediatric gastroenterologist in private practice and founder and CEO of Dr. Simon's Remedy, a line of natural products for your baby, in Essex County, New Jersey. "I think it's important to do some shopping for ourselves. If you're wearing shabby, ill-fitting, postpartum clothes, you're not going to feel confident. Shopping for -- and wearing -- clothes that fit and flatter my body makes me feel great!"

"My mother pounded into my head that every human being is special, and I believed her," says Hana Solomon, M.D., a mom of four and grandmother of eight, a pediatrician and the author of "Clearing the Air One Nose at a Time: Caring for Your Personal Filter" in Columbia, Missouri. "I have always believed that I'm special, just like everyone else is special. I've always told my patients that they are special, too, and an incredibly high percentage of my former pediatric patients are doctors or becoming doctors. That is a wonderful compliment."


Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, founding CEO of woman- and veteran-owned custom publisher Bright Communications LLC, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years" and six other books in the Mommy MD Guides series. She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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