9 Ways To Make Your Hifz Stress Free

When memorising the Qur’ān you might feel stress, anxiety and pressure. Many of you have mentioned that you feel stressed during your hifz journey.

The question is, how can you overcome it?

Find the cause of your stress

A difficult situation that causes pressure and stress comes directly from your own household or study environment—pressure from parents, relatives, peers or even your teacher.

Depending on the person, this pressure can be either healthy or unhealthy. Make sure you communicate your feelings and focus on things that are in your control.

There’s a pretty robust literature which shows that stress disrupts our memory. When under pressure, we tend to forget things—not only in the short term but also in the long term. 

Sometimes our stress can be self-inflicted. We’ll take the option of ‘thinking’ over ‘doing’. When you’re pondering, ‘I need to revise, I am forgetting, what should I do?’, you begin to place stress on yourself. Taking action provides some relief.

It’s important that you learn to better cope with any stress. Have a routine, get a good night’s sleep, be organised, have a good diet and regular health check-ups, get help if you need it and remember that stress is part of our growth.

Let’s look at some techniques that you can use when you’re memorising or reviewing.

Use retrieval practice

Retrieval practice boosts learning by pulling information out of students’ heads, rather than cramming information into students’ heads. It’s when you try to recall information without having it in front of you. This improves the memory under stress and improves your recall ability.

Efforts to recite from memory should be baked into the hifz process from the very beginning. The idea is, that more retrieval attempts result in a greater number of distinct ways to access the same information. This is called active recall.

There are different ways to do this type of practice but it’s essentially to have regular quizzes or tests in any shape or form to test your recall of Hifz.

Taking breaks

Extended periods of stress can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being. By taking a break, you give your brain and body a chance to reset, restore, and cope with the stresses of daily life.

Keep your heart in check and take a break if needed.

اقْرَءُوا الْقُرْآنَ مَا ائْتَلَفَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ فَإِذَا اخْتَلَفْتُمْ فَقُومُوا عَنْهُ /  اقْرَءُوا الْقُرْآنَ مَا ائْتَلَفَتْ عَلَيْهِ قُلُوبُكُمْ، فَإِذَا اخْتَلَفْتُمْ فَقُومُوا عَنْهُ

“Recite the Qur’ān as long as your hearts are inclined/receptive towards it. If you differ (in state) then stand (withdraw) from it.” (Al-Bukhārī)

A 2019 study found that short, frequent breaks were key to improving performance on a new task. These short rest periods strengthen memories of the new skill just practiced.

Stand up and move

Stand up and memorise whilst walking. Movement helps.

A study published in 2018 showed that even a short bout of walking lasting just 10 minutes can improve mood in young adults when compared to no activity at all. Researchers also noted that a short bout of meditation had the same effect.

An American study has found that walking could enhance your memory. In July 2018, the study published its findings in the journal Psychological Reports, where it clarified that there were four experimental sessions attended by 24 people aged 18 to 35.

In the first session, they had to try to memorise as many words from two lists of fifteen words as possible while walking on a treadmill. They walked at a moderate intensity on a treadmill for 15 minutes before, during, and after memorising the word lists. Researchers found the participants were better able to remember the words when they walked before memorising the words.

Regular exercise has long been known to improve and maintain key aspects of cognitive function such as attention, learning, and memory. It also reduces Alzheimer’s disease risk in healthy older adults.

Regulate your breathing

Work on your breathing. Make sure you are breathing from your nose at all times. Not only does this reduce stress it also calms the brain and is best for memory. Take deep breaths and as your brain receives more oxygen, you’ll likely find that you think better and remember more.

Super oxygenated breathing (self generates adrenaline) boosts motivation and focus, and the immune system. The fastest way to calm your nervous system is to take two inhales and then exhale.

Remember your why

Remember why you started and the love of Allāh for those who struggle with the Qur’ān. Remember, most of your stress comes from the way you respond, not the way life is. Adjust your attitude.

Take time out where you do nothing. Just be with Allāh. It will do wonders.

Take a qaylūlah or a power nap

Take advantage of power naps. It will help regulate any stress but also consolidate memory. Research shows that you can make yourself more alert, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning with a nap. 1 Mid-day sleep, or a ‘power nap’, means more patience, less stress, better reaction time, increased learning, more efficiency, and better health.

Use the power of writing, stress balls and company of the pious

There are 19 benefits that writing can have just for your mental health alone.

A study by APA showed that writing can help to relieve stress by combatting negative and intrusive thoughts. The study explains that writing about negative experiences can help you to overcome them and that, by putting your experience into perspective, you are able to concentrate on the positive as a result.

Additionally, the study found that writing improves working memory, which can contribute hugely to preventing burnout.

One of the symptoms of stress is muscle tension. We literally clench our body’s muscles when feeling psychologically stressed, prompted by a flood of hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. Essentially, these chemicals prime the body for “fight or flight”. However, it’s not always an option to fight your boss or run away from work — this is where the ubiquitous stress ball might come in handy.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, David Posen, a stress expert and author of Is Work Killing You?: A Doctor’s Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress,” says that at least some of that stress energy can be channeled towards a physical object. Stress balls can work really well, Posen says, because they prompt you to squeeze and release, leaving you less tense.

In 2006, researchers found that stress balls can improve the focus and attention spans of sixth-graders. Another study found that fidgeting with objects — squeezing a stress ball or twirling a pen, for instance — can help boost productivity by giving the mind a break, making it easier to pay attention to the task upon returning to it. According to MIT researchers, fidgeting objects that soothe or calm have to be smooth or squeezable, whereas fidgets meant to make people alert are generally clickable, sharp, or pokey. Yet another study found that stress balls helped relieve patients’ anxiety during surgery.

Connecting with people is really important. Try to surround yourself with good company as much as possible. Those that remind you of Allāh and those who you aspire to be like. Those whose presence removes your stress and worries. Those whose presence uplifts you. This can be through their books or lectures, but there’s nothing better than in person meetings.

Remember that Allāh is with you (dhikr) and make du’ā’

Whether you are struggling to navigate new memorisation or keeping up with the old – stay positive. Even if you are being demanded to do something you are not able to do- remain on the path.

Several studies have shown that dhikr therapy is able to reduce anxiety in preoperative patients, pre-coronary artery bypass graft surgery, burns, and has been shown to be more effective in reducing anxiety than patients who only use conventional therapy.

Beating stress isn’t limited to these 9+ things. There are many factors involved and things that can be done. Allāh has given us many means.

Keep going.

May Allāh grant success!

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