Why Meditation Helps You Learn Better, According to Science

Meditation makes you smarter_header


  • A new study suggests that meditation helps the brain respond better to positive and negative feedback.
  • That’s a big deal — when you can adapt from negative feedback, you learn from your actions and become a better human.
  • The researchers suggest meditation impacts the brain’s dopamine signals. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that impacts decision-making.
  • Meditation has tons of other benefits. It reduces stress, boosts your focus, helps you sleep better, and improves your heart health. That’s why so many innovators and successful entrepreneurs have a meditation routine.
  • You can benefit from meditation, too. Check out the tips at the bottom of this article to get started.


A new study says that meditation changes your brain so you can respond better to feedback. Here’s why that’s a big deal: When you know how to use feedback to your advantage, you learn from your actions and become a better, more productive human.

This is just another way of saying that meditation is good for you. It comes up time and time again in my book “Game Changers” because hundreds of thought leaders, innovators, and successful entrepreneurs recognize the same thing: Meditation resets your programming and rewires your brain (in a good way).

Here’s what you should know about the study, why I’ve been talking about meditation for years, and how you can upgrade yourself, starting today.

Meditation and learning: What the study found

Outline of brain over black background

Researchers from the University of Surrey trained participants to select images associated with a reward. All participants were hooked up to EEG sensors, which measure brain waves. The participants in the study weren’t all meditation gurus. Some were experienced meditators, some were novices, and some didn’t meditate at all.

According to the study, the people who meditated were more successful in selecting pairings that resulted in a greater reward. Their EEG results also indicated they were less affected by negative feedback. The group that struggled the most? The non-meditators. The researchers found that people who meditated were able to better bounce back and adapt to feedback in order to make informed decisions.

What made the difference? The researchers suggest dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain. Previous studies show dopamine impacts the way people learn and process information, and meditation increases dopamine levels.[ref url=”https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166223607000689″] [ref url=”https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0926641001001069″] [ref url=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4769029/”] According to the study’s findings, meditation rewires your brain so you’re better equipped to deal with positive and negative feedback.

Related: The Biohacker’s Guide to Meditation and Flow States

Other ways meditation makes you better

Blood cells

I’ve been saying for years that meditation is one of the best investments you can make in your brain and body. In my book “Head Strong,” I write that meditation literally changes areas of your brain associated with complex thought, bodily awareness, concentration, and problem-solving.

Getting your “om” on has tons of other benefits, too. Meditation:

  • Increases focus by helping you filter out distractions, or “mind wandering” [ref url=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3277272/”] [ref url=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20681336  “]  
  • Reduces stress and anxiety by down-regulating stress hormones [ref url=”https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/sbp/sbp/2009/00000037/00000003/art00003 “] [ref url=”https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1809754”]
  • Improves cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure [ref url=”https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijhy/2012/578397/cta/”] [ref url=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18311126″] [ref url=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24372522″]
  • Improves sleep quality by increasing relaxation [ref url=”https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2110998?hc_location=ufi”]

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about the benefits of meditation for your brain and body.

Related: Can’t Resist Cravings? Meditation Can Help, Says Study

How to hack your meditation practice

The feet and hands of person doing yoga on mat

Ready to upgrade your life and take control of your brain? There are loads of ways to start meditating or upgrade your practice today. You can try a meditation app or a free guided meditation practice online. This yoga nidra routine will make you feel like you just got a full night’s sleep.

Remember that consistency is your most important goal. Everyone’s experience with meditation is a little different, so you should form a habit based on what works for you and your schedule. Start with as little as 2 – 5 minutes a day, and work up to 20 minutes when it begins to feel like a habit.

Because I love to hack my performance, I recommend upgrading your practice once you have the basics of meditation down. That’s why law 40 in “Game Changers” is “Hurry! Meditate faster.” By that, I mean you can benefit even more from your practice by reducing the time it takes to reap all those brain-boosting benefits.

Here’s how:

  • Sign up for a meditation class to learn how to meditate better.
  • Measure your heart rate variability to make sure you’re actually putting yourself in a meditative state.
  • Check out my conversation with Bill Harris, the founder, president, and director of the Centerpointe Research Institute, on this episode of the Bulletproof Radio podcast to discover more ways to hack your meditation practice.

Oh, and pick up a copy of “Game Changers” for even more meditation hacks. You’re that much closer to being stronger, happier, and more productive. 





Not Harder

Smarter Not Harder: The Biohacker’s Guide to Getting the Body and Mind You Want is about helping you to become the best version of yourself by embracing laziness while increasing your energy and optimizing your biology.

If you want to lose weight, increase your energy, or sharpen your mind, there are shelves of books offering myriad styles of advice. If you want to build up your strength and cardio fitness, there are plenty of gyms and trainers ready to offer you their guidance. What all of these resources have in common is they offer you a bad deal: a lot of effort for a little payoff. Dave Asprey has found a better way.

Also Available


Start hacking your way to better than standard performance and results.

Receive weekly biohacking tips and tech by becoming a Dave Asprey insider.

By sharing your email, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy