Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Sanam Hafeez’


Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Overloaded on bad news? You are not alone. When we tune in to see what is going on, all we see are reports of economic uncertainly and a divided political climate,  natural disasters, shootings, terror attacks, and allegations of sexual assault. While it is important to be informed, being a “news junkie” can be very damaging. It can cause anxiety which translates into insomnia, stomach upset and headaches.  The constant attention on negativity creates neuropathways in the brain which tell us we are unsafe, activating a constant state of fight-or-flight.  Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist and faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College.  She shares some of the health benefits of taking a break from the news.

You reconnect with yourself.  When you unplug from the outside, you plug into the inside of who you are. You’re able to think of the kind of world you want to live in and assess what you can do within your own life to live well. People make the mistake in feeling guilty, selfish or uncaring if they aren’t commiserating with others on some negative news event. What you are doing is self-preserving and protecting how you feel.

You’re attentive to those who matter most.  When you watch the news, you get absorbed and tune out everyone around you. Your kids may try to get your attention or worse, may hear the news on in the background while they are around making them anxious and concerned for their safety.  (more…)


Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

As we prepare to switch the clocks and “fall back” this Sunday, many of us give up more than an hour of daylight; we often give up our good moods while falling into the “winter blues,” mentally marking the change in time as the beginning of colder weather, greater darkness, and enhanced anxiety over holiday schedules, shopping, and travel.  Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, is a faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College.  She offers alternate tips on how not to slip into a seasonal funk when the clocks fall back.

ADJUST YOUR BEDTIME ROUTINE  Fewer daylight hours definitely affect our mood.  Nearly three million Americans are affected by some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which has been found to be more common in women and those who live furthest north.  The condition can come on quickly and often linger throughout the entire winter. Dr. Hafeez recommends getting to bed an hour earlier and adding some wind-down time to your routine an hour before going to bed. “Don’t watch the news before sleep; read a book, write in a journal or meditate. Do something that eases you into a restful state,” she shares.

REARRANGE YOUR WORKOUT SCHEDULE  It’s normal for the brain to get thrown off when it gets darker earlier. Less daylight means that the motivation to go outside for that early morning jog may fade.  But, according to Dr. Hafeez, this is very normal, “It’s important that you give your brain new stimulation. Try working out after work instead of in the morning or, if possible join a work out app that brings at home exercise routines right to your phone.” (more…)


Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

How we think and react to life’s routine stressors directly impacts our appearance in aging. When stressed, we see it in our skin tone, texture, elasticity, and overall glow.  “When someone is under stress they can appear up to 5 years older, 10 years if they don’t manage stress or make changes to their lives,” explains Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a Colombia University Professor and Founder of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services in New York City.  “Stressful relationships and careers age people. I have seen patients end relationships or get new jobs and look 10 years younger within days.  People are spending money on creams, facials and cosmetic procedures but if the stress is still there it will still show in their face,” she offers. These are a number of way in which stress can appear on your face:

Dark Circles   Stress results in excessive blood flow to the major organs.  Dr. Hafeez explains that this pressure affects the delicate under-eye area where fragile capillaries break under pressure, leaving the face looking sallow and tired.

Heavy Jaw  Grinding teeth and clenching of the jaw are common symptoms of stress. Unfortunately, these habits can cause the jaw muscles to work overtime. This can result not only in damaged teeth, but also a far heavier jawline, as the muscles “bulk up” with the grinding action.

Under-Eye Bags  There is a reason they call it “beauty sleep.”  “A lack of sleep and regeneration can cause fluids to pool beneath the lower eyelids, creating a puffy appearance,” shares Dr. Hafeez.  Stomach sleepers should be advised that under-eye bloat is actually exacerbated by gravitational pull.

Hair Loss  Stress can trigger sudden hair loss by literally flipping the switch on the hair follicle’s growth stage from an active to a resting phase. When the follicle prematurely enters this phase, it remains dormant for about three months, after which time a large amount of hair will be shed. When you experience an overall shedding of hair, you must cast back a few months to find the trigger. According to Dr. Hafeez, stress hair loss in women is usually temporary.

Adult Acne  Acne is not just for hormonally-charged teenagers. Many adults suffer from acne as a result of stress hormones.   According to Dr. Hafeez, for stressed-out adults, the condition is often exacerbated by an obsessive need to squeeze, poke, and pick at lesions as a way to to release tension.  No picking, as it only increases inflammation.