As-salamu `Alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!).
I need your help.
I am in high school and I am having a problem in schooling, particularly, I am in literary branch which needs more study. Every time I study, I go and study again because I do not remember anything of what I have studied.
Sometimes, I feel that my mind is absent during studying, and I am afraid to remain in that condition and I would not be able to get a good grade.
Short period ago, I started to suffer from dizziness and I sleep too much; does it have any relation with studying?
Should I get any medication to help me focus or not?
I wish you help me, may Allah reward you the best! I really feel tired because of that problem.
Thank you very much and I wish you good luck.
In the name of Allah, the one who guides to the truth, and He is the One whose aid is to be implored.
Dear sister, there are three factors that cause weak focusing and distraction:
1- Medical factors.
2- Cognitive factors.
3- Psychological factors.
First, medical factors:
1- Chronic diseases.
2- Apnea during sleep.
3- Toxication with heavy metals.
5- Pain syndrome.
6- Brain injuries.
Second, cognitive factors:
1- Hyperactivity disorder and distraction.
2- Learning difficulties.
3- Vision disorders.
Third, psychological factors:
4- Psychological trauma.
5- Affective bipolar disorder.
The cure depends on understanding the reason, and it seems to me from your words that forgetfulness and poor concentration are due to fearing high school exams, which is a possibility, but first you should do some medical examinations to be sure of your physical safety (blood test, Balance test at ear, nose, and throat doctor and conducting an x-ray on cervical vertebras).
There are some advices that you can follow to solve your problem with poor concentration and forgetfulness, that you may benefit from:
First, religious cure:
1- Remembrance of Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) because of Allah's Saying: "Except (with the saying), "If Allâh wills!" And remember your Lord when you forget and say: It may be that my Lord guides me to a nearer way of truth than this." [Surat Al Kahf: 24].
2- Leaving sins because they cause forgetfulness. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "So because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard. They change the words from their (right) places and have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them." [Surat Al Ma'idah: 13].
3- Piety because of Allah's Saying: "So be afraid of Allâh; and Allâh teaches you." [Surat Al Baqarah: 282].
Second, old treatments:
Here are some quotes from the book of "Al Hawy Fi At-Tib" of Ar-Razy. Originally, the book was not edited because Ar-Razy had died before editing it, and the high status of Ar-Razy was not known except after his death.
When the book had been collected and published, people found therein many benefits because he put the prescriptions of doctors for every ailment, and I shall quote from it some of old doctors' sayings about sharpening the mind and treating forgetfulness:
1- Of the medical studies of Paul: "The mind is sharpened and strengthened by wakefulness and moderate eating not sleeping and fill of the belly."
2- He said: "Whoever gets accustomed to memorize a portion will be more memorizing because that is like exercising the mind.
one who gets accustomed to train his body is more able to practice sports, likewise the one who practices any training will be more powerful to practice it."
This is like the saying of Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah (may Allah be pleased with him) in "At-Tib An-Nabawy" when he said: "Any organ is trained will be strong to practice this sport for which it trained. Anyone trains himself to memorization, his memory will be strong and anyone trains himself for thinking, his thinking shall be pure. There is a sport for every organ: As for the chest, reading is the sport, so a person starts from low voice to high voice gradually.
The sport of hearing is by hearing voices, and speech is by speaking gradually from words to sentences. The sport of the tongue is speech, the sport of sight is looking and the sport of legs is walking step by step."
3- "Timos" said in his first article: "I commanded doctors to be moderate in food so as blood would not increase in the body because abundant liquids in the body affect understanding.
We can infer that the one whose body is full of liquids shall be lazy, his sleep shall be long, and his diseases increase until he loses intellect."
4- He said: "Cuscuta epithymum, myrrh, liquid aloes and saffron are harmful to the brain and cause heaviness in the head and a state like intoxication, and the harmful things to stomach mouth harm the brain."
5- Ahren said: "The things which affect the brain and bones are: Fatigue, abundant food, sexual intercourse, and sleeplessness.
And the things which remove their effects are: Taking a bath, eating the core of fruits with sugar, Al Faluzhaj (delicious sweet made of wheat and honey), hazelnuts, and almonds, especially if they are eaten with sugar."
6- Ibn Masawayh in his book entitled "Al Adwiyah Al Munaqiyyah" said: "Eating mustard protects from forgetfulness, and painting the back of the head with it is useful. He said: Eating onions too much corrupt the mind and bring about forgetfulness."
7- Ibn Sarabyun said: "If the back of the head is soft, memorization will be weak and causes long sleep and flow of nose and mouth. You should be moderate in eating and sit in bright place to kill its bad effect."
8- Phobos in the book of Al Filahah said: "Beans impairs thinking and prevents good visions because it makes man break wind."
9- Ibn Masawayh said: "Saffron is bad for the mind and eating it too much burns blood, gum is good for memorization, and the radish soothes the senses if it is eaten."
10- Al khawz said: "chicken increases reasoning."
11- Ibn Masawayh said: "Ginger is good for memorization." Sadhasar said: "Ginger sharpens the mind."
12- Abu Jurayj said: "If gum was soaked in water and is drunk everyday, it will increase memorization and reasoning and protect from forgetfulness, but it causes headache." Masawayh said: "Gum sharpens the mind."
13- Galen said: "If water is drunk too much, it will ruin the mind and make it lazy."
14- Ar-Razy said: "A person should practice walking and move his hands. Taking too much baths is not recommended either with cold water because it numbs the body and harms the senses or with hot water because it relaxes nerves and weakens the penis.
Moreover, a person should avoid lettuce and poppies because they cause sleepiness. Garlic, onions, and cabbage should be avoided except for few because they generate vapors in the head.
Drinking water moderately is good because it moves the body and makes a person clever. A person should not fill his belly then go to sleep because it harms the mind and causes laziness. And studying increases memorization and sharpens the mind.
Third, academic advice:
The table below quoted from the college of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University in Pullman:
Think of concentration improvement as a three-step process:
1- Learn the causes of poor concentration and decide which apply to you.
2- Understand what you can do to control these factors.
3- Make your control habitual. Even if you lapse into old habits of distraction and daydreaming, keep insisting of yourself that you concentrate using these controls until you can routinely concentrate well on your studies for fifty minutes of every hour.
Learn the Causes
Control the Causes
Environmental distractions: TV, chairs that are too comfortable, snacks, other people, etc.
Leave or re-arrange a distracting environment. Go to a library or a classroom when you seriously intend to study.
Noise: Music with words, conversations
Train yourself to study away from others and in silence.
Physical distractions: hunger, drowsiness.
Plan to study when you are most alert. Eat a high-protein snack. Do five minutes of light exercise to wake up.
Boredom, dislike, disinterest
Find a reason that satisfies you for taking the class; talk with other students and the professor.
Anxiety about studies
Make sure you know how to study effectively. Put the course in perspective.
Intimidating study tasks
Break up large tasks into achievable subtasks. Do the most intimidating task first. Give yourself rewards for progress.
Separate daydreams from studying. When your mind starts to wander, write down the interrupting thought and continue studying. Or, recall important points and then turn away from your book and continue to daydream. When you're ready to read again, do so. The trick is not to daydream and read at the same time.
Identify and define the problem and develop a concrete, specific plan to resolve personal worries. Talk with someone who can help: a friend, a counselor, or a specialist.
Fourth, dealing with anxiety:
1– Mentioning Allah in all cases because of Allah's Saying: "Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allâh — Islâmic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allâh: verily, in the remembrance of Allâh do hearts find rest." [Surat Ar-Ra`d: 28].
2- Practicing sport to dispel negative energies.
3- Talking to someone who is close to you.
4– Self-talk and its positive sign.
5– Busying oneself with positive ideas such as housework and going in picnics prevent the mind from thinking in bad thoughts.
6– Hearing jokes and nice speech such as sitting with a funny friend or watch cartoons, or reading jokes and nice stories because Harun Ar-Rashid said: jokes sharpen the mind and strengthen hearings.
May Allah guide you to the best because He knows what is correct, for He is the All Knowing, the All Expert.