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Ladies, it is part of aging, that menopause brain fog! I never knew what this was until I went through it myself. But it is VERY real and it does affect how you study, whether it is the Bible or anything else! Read on as I share my story with you and give you some tips to help clear brain fog when you study the Bible whether from menopause or whatever the reason for your fog!!
Anxiety and Brain Fog?
We go through so many things when we begin to go through menopause! I was warned about the hot flashes and mood swings! I was even warned about the physical changes (weight gain, periods that would go and then show back up after 3 months!) but menopause brain fog?
Well, my mother never warned me about THAT one! But it is a very real thing and it took me from being a wiz at studying to not even being able to digest a sentence.
I never used to have a problem with brain fog or anxiety when I was younger. Well, at least I didn’t recognize an issue with anxiety until the last 1o years or so.
When I was younger (and when I say “younger” I mean through to my mid-40’s) I never had an issue with concentration or focus.
I was an analyst for a major pharmaceutical company so my whole day was focus! I also studied the Bible on a regular basis, for hours at a time sometimes. I could sometimes sit at my dining room table for hours just engrossed in a study!
But that changed when I entered my mid to late 40’s.
For one thing, anxiety entered in as part of my story.
I had gone through difficulties in a prior marriage which created this level of anxiety in me that I didn’t know was growing and deepening. It became like a terror in my life.
It was subtle in its approach and didn’t appear drastically until I went through a divorce. Then it showed itself in the form of a panic attack at a gas pump one day that caused me to have to run to urgent care.
Menopause and Brain Fog – The Connection I Hadn’t Made!
At first I thought it WAS the anxiety that was causing my lack of focus! I even thought for a while that I had ADD! But no..it was menopause!
Coupled with anxiety and this inability to shut my brain off already, this new lack of focus that came with menopause made studying the Bible become SO difficult! I mean REALLY difficult!
I would sit and try to read and I would get two paragraphs in and my mind was somewhere else completely!
Where was the young person who could sit and study for hours? Where was the person who could remember something she thought of just two minutes before??Coupled with anxiety and a seeming inability to shut my brain off anyway, and this new lack of focus that came with menopause, studying the Bible became SO difficult! Click To Tweet
So what can you do when you try to sit down and study the Bible (or even read a book!!) and you can’t get through a chapter without your mind going off somewhere else?
Here is a video I made for my other site’s YouTube channel that goes over 7 steps that can help you study the Bible when you can’t focus! The steps are outlined below as well so you can follow along (along with an 8th step I added here that is NOT in the video!)What can you do when you try to sit down and study the Bible and you can't get through a chapter without your mind going off somewhere else? Click To Tweet
7 Steps to Help Clear Brain Fog and an Inability to Focus
There are some steps that I have learned that have helped me and I will share them with you!
Accept this is who you are and we ALL go through it! We all age! So accept that you are no longer 20 or 30 and this is who God created you to be in this stage of life – oh and 20 and 30-year-olds..you will be here eventually!
Accept that you will have to change how you study! And that is ok! You may be in the opposite phase where you now find you can study MORE than you could before because kids are grown and so on. You may be retired now and have more time! Great!!
3. Eliminate Distractions
Part of reducing the squirrel moments is eliminating them! Turn off the TV or music. Close the blinds if you have to! Shut off the phone! Eat beforehand so you don’t focus on your rumbly in the tummy!
Don’t rely on your willpower to keep going…face it, it's not there! Turn everything off!
4. Break It Up
Break it up in small pieces – don’t try to study too much at once. I find that as I am reading I am looking to where the chapter ends. It's not because I want to be done with it, it is just how my brain works. It looks for the goal.
So make it one chapter at a time. My brain craves novelty so it looks toward the end of the chapter because it is looking for the next step. So give it to it! Otherwise, your brain will check out.
5. Cut Yourself Some Slack
The more you fight this the worse you are going to feel about it. Accept it, find strategies that work for you and accept that it may not always work for you!! Give yourself some grace! If you find your brain is just not engaged, give it a break and try again later.
There could be reasons for it…lack of sleep, something on your mind, etc. So use step 6!
The devil loves to use our brain fog to work against us. So pray before you study. Pray God will give you clarity of mind and also focus. If there are things in step 5 that are keeping you from focusing, pray about that too!
Giving that time to God in prayer and asking him to bless your time with Him will help.
7. Use Study Methods
Implement Bible study methods that work for you! There are many good ones like the SOAP Study or APPLE. Find one that fits your style of study. Experiment with new ones from time to time as well.
Verse mapping might also work well for you as it has you really take a deep dive into a verse and explore definitions and original language. Since you would be focusing so much on that one verse, it will help you by not trying to digest too much at once.
Read out loud! When you read the Bible you are using 2 of your 5 senses! You are using your sense of sight as you read and you are using your sense of touch as you hold the Bible or turn the pages, etc.
That leaves your other senses free to engage in distraction! When you read out loud, you engage 3.5 senses (I will explain the .5!!).
You are using sight and touch, as previously mentioned, but now you are also using your sense of hearing as your ears hear the words you read out loud!
The .5? Well, you are using your mouth, although it is not the sense of taste per se! Or is it?
The Bible DOES say in Psalm 34:8:
It also describes the Word as sweet in Psalm 119:103:
Whether you have menopause brain fog, a short attention span or, like me, suffered a medical trauma that just makes the situation worse, you CAN use these tools to help you study the Word!
Have you found any awesome ways to battle that menopause brain fog? Share in the comments with us!
NASB – “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation“
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.