Mental Dispersion For One’s Own Benefit

What is mental dispersion, what are the benefits and how to take full advantage of it? Find out in this article!
Mental dispersion for your own benefit

What is meant by mental dispersion? Is it a negative concept or does it also have positive aspects? How can we prevent it from adversely affecting our daily activities?

In today’s article we will deepen this interesting topic related to the mind and cognitive processes, making use of the contribution of the most important psychologists in the sector.

Beyond that, we will discover how mental dispersion is related to intelligence, specifically Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Don’t miss it!

Mental Dispersion: What Is It?

Mental dispersion is the natural result we get when we try to do several things at the same time ; a multiplicity of challenging stimuli that end up overloading our attention, weighing on important resources such as working memory.

But what are the possible consequences? Well, if among these commitments there is also a problem to be solved, we risk solving it badly or not solving it at all.

Multiple intelligences.

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences

To explain the relationship between the concept of mental dispersion and Howard Gardner’s (1983) theory of multiple intelligences, it is good to start from the origins.

Howard Gardner, a psychologist, researcher and professor at Harvard University, is perhaps the best known proponent of the existence of different types of intelligence. A thought that has to deal with a much more reductionist social conception of this primary psychological process.

Gardner argues that we have different ways and fields to express our intelligence; and in the course of his research he identified 8 types of intelligence.

Starting from these bases, Gardner began to classify different ways of thinking, arriving at his Theory of multiple intelligences (1983).

however,  some of these “new” intelligences would present a “risk” of mental dispersion. That is, people who do not have a marked analytical intelligence (the “classical” intelligence), and who struggle to maintain concentration, would be more prone to dispersion.

In this context, mental dispersion would be linked to the risk, in people with creative and intuitive intelligence, of not being able to focus their attention.

Disadvantages and advantages of mental dispersion

The problem of mental dispersion consists mainly in the expenditure of undirected energies, which in turn translates into physical fatigue, preventing us from realizing our efforts.

However, when mental dispersion is not excessive, it can be adaptive, and this is closely related to creativity and intuition.

According to some experts in the field of personal growth, there are times when the great advantage of having more marked intelligences, different from the “classical” one (musical, kinesthetic, artistic, etc), allows not to be too concentrated and not to focus excessively attention: and this is where we talk about mental dispersion.

Although this claim may appear negative, in reality it is not entirely the case. In fact, when one is able to integrate multiple different concepts, one does nothing but produce an enriched, different and plural whole.

How to manage mental dispersion?

Also according to the experts, it is important to ask the person if the mental dispersion, intrinsic to his nature, causes him problems or not. In other words, it should be asked: does mental dispersion make you feel bad?

Do you think you have a lack to compensate or to modify? If so, and as long as the person in question wants to change, it can be proposed to put the following guidelines into practice:

  • Use a list or agenda ; to write down all the things we want to do and perform (actions). For example, we can use Google Calendar or one of the many applications aimed at organizing time.
  • Creating routines and habits. The mind tends to “fly away” even in the presence of established habits and routines, but this is not the problem. The problem is not being able to bring the mind back where we want, focusing our attention there. Thankfully, this is something that can be learned with a little training, through attention control.
  • Take a break to allow the mind to wander. It often happens that you force yourself to concentrate on the same task for a long time, but this is practically impossible. It is important to leave room for the mind to go where it wants to go; once the break is over, we will bring attention back to where it is needed.

Other experts propose further guidelines for acting on mental dispersion. We describe them in the following paragraphs.

Channel attention, energy and thought

Some psychologists recommend not to look at mental dispersion as if it were something negative, but rather to consider it “friend”; precisely because it is also associated with positive aspects: creativity, intuition… But what is meant by channeling all these elements?

On the one hand, indulge in moments of dispersion, as the brain needs it (never try to force your attention throughout the day); while on the other, learning to return to the “real world” when necessary.

Like? Distinguishing the mental world from the “real” one. To do this, you can establish gestures to perform, such as tapping the surface of a table or tapping on the clock.

This device will allow us to return to the real world and direct our attention to what we want. It is a question of automating this “return” to reality  through these small actions.

Enjoy the moments of mental dispersion

Grant it a place in time and space. In other words, it is not necessary to avoid mental dispersion but to enjoy and learn from it, channel it; welcome it, accept it as part of our life, without waging war on it.

A dilated thought that flies rapidly from one side to the other, from concept to concept or from one field to another, in some cases, is capable of generating truly innovative associations.

Woman thinking.

Don’t neglect your sleep habits

Taking care of sleep is very important. According to experts, sleeping and dreaming are ways to “eliminate” residues of thoughts that are no longer useful to the mind ; which is why it is extremely important to take care of these habits in people with mental dispersion.

Resting well improves attention span. In this sense, thanks to healthy sleep habits, we can focus our attention longer and reap the rewards when it is dispersed.

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