Psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms are powerful substances. When used responsibly, they can bring about profound, even life-changing experiences.
If you're planning to go down the rabbit hole, a number of variables can influence the kind of trip you have. While there's no formula for a perfect psychedelic experience, there are things you can do to maximise your chances of a good time. To take some of the pressure off, we've put together 25 practical tips for before, during, and after your trip.
It all starts with a little preparation and planning. Here are some simple things you can do before your next trip. Bonus: You can now add "psychedelic travel agent" to your resume.
First things first, clear your schedule. Ideally, make sure you have no obligations for the next two days. Tripping on psychedelics can be immensely rewarding, but it can also take a lot out of you, physically and emotionally. Even if your trip is overwhelmingly positive, you'll want some time to rest, recover, and process what you learned along the way.
Real estate agents and psychonauts agree: location, location, location. Psychedelics heighten your emotions and make you hyper-sensitive to your environment. Plan to trip in a place where you'll be safe, warm, and comfortable. Surround yourself with natural beauty if you can. Avoid locations with negative associations or environments that are harsh and overwhelming.
Surround yourself with positive energy and curate your crew with care. This is especially true if you're a novice tripper. Social jitters or sensory overload (like large crowds) can trigger a bad trip. On the other hand, psychedelics can facilitate deeper connections with people you love and trust.
Bananas are a sensible choice: portable, easy to eat, full of potassium and natural sugar. When you're high, it's easy to get dehydrated without realising it, so water is essential. Keep a bottle in your bag so you'll never find yourself without.
Pick an outfit you feel great in, that lets you move freely. Avoid restrictive clothing, including items that chafe, slip, or constantly need adjustment. You want to feel easy, breezy, and focused on what matters, not distracted by your shirt riding up and your fly slipping down (yet again). There's a reason hippies love loose, flowy clothing. So embrace your inner flower child and dress for comfort.
Two words: pillow fort (or, if you're over the age of thirty: back support). Once your trip has started, you'll want to be comfy and cosy. You may not even notice you're getting cold until you're too high to problem-solve. So, leave the logistics to your sober self and have blankets and pillows at the ready.
Music sets the mood. Prep for your trip by making a list of your favourite upbeat or chill songs. Trips are an adventure, and every great adventure needs a soundtrack, right? That's not to say you can't spontaneously DJ in the moment. But, when you're over the rainbow, you'll appreciate having everything at your fingertips.
Have you ever had a brilliant thought while tripping, only for it to be lost to the flow of time? As seasoned psychonauts, we will fully admit those revelations aren't always as brilliant in the clear light of day. But sometimes they truly are noteworthy. Psychedelics can spark remarkable moments of personal insight and creativity. Rather than let them slip away, keep a journal at the ready.
Psychedelics can be used socially, but they can also be so much more: vehicles for personal exploration and enlightenment. Like an intense therapy session, a successful trip isn't always an easy trip. Set your goals going in (but be willing to go with the flow). What do you hope to get out of this trip? Where do you need to dig deeper? Where are you blocked? Are you open to growth and willing to do the work?
If you don't already have a meditation practice, now is a good time to start. Even a few days of mindfulness and intention can flex the mental muscles you need to carry you through your psychedelic journey. Consider it training for your trip. Meditation can also build coping skills for your regular life. Either way, it's a good habit to get into.
So, you made your list and checked it twice. You're all set and ready to trip. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Mindfulness techniques can keep you grounded in the present, helping you get the most out of your trip. If you feel yourself starting to spiral, focus on taking deep breaths.
Set the scene by breaking out that chill playlist you made the day before. If you feel things going south, your favourite tunes will give you a familiar boost. If you're having a great trip, the right soundtrack will only amplify your euphoria.
Psychedelics kill your appetite, but it's important to keep your electrolytes and blood sugar regulated. That doesn't mean force-feeding yourself a burger and fries. Set a timer and remind yourself to eat a banana or other healthy snack a few hours into your trip. You won't feel like it, but your body will thank you. Likewise, make sure you stay hydrated.
Pro tip: Sipping on alkaline water (or coconut water) can help if you feel nauseated, or as your body adjusts during the come-up.
When you're tripping on psychedelics, there's nothing quite as uplifting as communing with nature. Psilocybin, in particular, seems tailor-made to heighten our connection with the natural world. So whether you're on truffles, shrooms, or another kind of kaleidoscopic adventure, find some green space and just let it be.
If you start to feel nervous or dizzy, go barefoot. Focus on the feeling of the grass or sand beneath your feet. Let that physical contact ground you, and breathe. If you're indoors, concentrate on the soothing feeling of your bare feet against a cool tile floor.
If you start to feel overwhelmed, you might be overstimulated. Retreat to a dark, silent space and see if that brings you back to centre. Of course, if you start to freak out more, this strategy may not be what you need (so make sure you have friends close by).
Chances are you'll have moments during your trip where you feel uncomfortable. Psychedelics open us up, even when we want to remain closed. Learn to embrace the discomfort—sometimes the only way out is through. Instead of struggling against your feelings, look for the positive and understand it as a learning experience. Ride that wave back towards something brighter.
Psychedelics can facilitate deep personal reflection, but try to avoid thought spirals. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. If you find yourself getting stuck in a loop, break out using mindfulness techniques. You'll get the most out of your trip if you ground yourself in the here-and-now.
Remember that you have control over your own mindset. Focus on happy memories and positive thoughts. Go through your checklist and put on your favourite song. Adjust the lighting or step out into the sun. Now take a deep breath and smile. You're going to be alright. You've got this.
Psychedelics can generate a swell of empathy. What better time to make memories and deepen your bond with a close friend? Of course, it's always good practice to trip with a buddy. The trust and love of a good friend will keep you positive if things start to get dark.
After your trip, take some time to rest, recover, and reflect. Here are some self-care suggestions to help you carry forward what you’ve learned.
If you were able to plan and take some time off post-trip, you should have a couple of days free and clear. Use them to prioritise yourself. Put your phone on do-not-disturb, close the million tabs you have open on your laptop, and leave your obligations for another day.
Internalise the benefits of your trip by recording your experiences. Crack open your favourite notebook or journal, and write everything down. Grab an audio recorder and start storytelling or making verbal notes. Turn your trip into a painting or piece of psychedelic art. Do this before you forget the details of your trip. You can wait until you've had time to process a little, or use your creative energy to work through and interpret your adventure.
Another way to reflect on your trip is to talk it out with a friend or therapist. Some people process verbally. If you're one of them, recounting your experiences to someone else can deepen your own understanding of your journey. And, let's be honest, you probably have some great stories!
Opportunities for personal growth don't wear off when the psychedelics do. Set some fresh post-trip intentions. What new insights have you learned? What will you keep working on? Where do you want to be? Let the lessons and experiences from your trip guide you.
Bring the mindfulness techniques you used during your trip into your everyday life. If you feel yourself focusing too much on the past or worrying about the future, use your breath to stay in the present moment. Appreciate the feeling of your bare toes against cool grass. Mindfulness is a pathway to living intentionally and with heightened awareness.
Remember, not every trip will meet your expectations. Sometimes, you might have what feels like a bad trip, but that doesn't mean you can't learn from the experience. Every adventure is new, and growth isn't always easy. So, be gentle with yourself and open to what your trip has to teach you. Remember that past experiences don't dictate the future, and your next trip could be completely different.