Just as it is with any other journey, a psychedelic trip significantly benefits from proper preparation. Only in this case, your body is your vessel, and your mind your destination. You want to check your tires and make sure there’s no junk in your trunk. And you’ll want to have nice clean sheets once you arrive on your destination.
Your preparation begins by taking yourself seriously. Cultivating a habit of knowing your own body and mind is absolutely essential and will prove highly valuable in your daily life. In this article, we’ll touch upon some of the things you can do to prepare your body and your mind. These include creating time and space for yourself, some dietary recommendations and general tips to help you connect with your body.
A psychedelic trip should be viewed as the beginning of a journey – almost like a prologue to a new book. This is where you can gather pointers and directions that may prove useful as your journey unfolds. Using a mind-revealing substance like psilocybin gives you the opportunity to have a meeting with a part of you that ordinarily may stay out of sight. During this encounter, you can get new and profound impressions and insights.
Preparing the mind for a psychedelic trip
Over the past decades, we have increasingly come to think of the mind as an inexhaustible information processor. As if it’s some kind of organic computer. Although we agree that it’s an incredibly powerful tool, the mind can only come to bloom by allowing it enough rest, ample time to sleep, some kind of meditation practice and spending time in nature.
Nature connection and psychedelics
We highly recommend following nature both as an example and as an infinite source of inspiration. As Lao Tzsu said; “Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished”. Do not hurry. And do not worry. Please allow yourself to spend a bit more time in nature than usual in the week leading up to your psychedelic trip.
Time and space for yourself
We cannot emphasize enough how much it helps to enter into your psychedelic trip with a rested mind. This is why it’s of utmost importance to create calm and clarity in your life, with enough space and time for yourself. We understand this may be difficult at first, but you need to realize that this truly is the opposite of being selfish.
Stress reduction techniques
Make sure to take at least one day off work before your psychedelic trip, and allow yourself a day without appointments afterwards. You’ll find that your mind may need some time to process your experience. Plan moments of nothingness.
Go for a good stroll in a nice forest or visit a quiet beach. Put your phone away whenever you can. There is nothing more disrupting than the constant distraction our phones cause in our minds. Another important aspect of preparing the mind is to be more kind to yourself. We all have an inner voice. Actively address it to be more kind.
Mental preparation for psychedelics
Take time to sit and ponder. Or to really just do nothing. Try simply being in the present moment. Although this may sound like something inevitable, this is quite difficult for most of us, most of the time. Our minds are so eager to wander off into the future, or to keep lingering behind, somewhere in the past.
To be in the present moment is to do nothing else but breathe. Without trying to grasp the moment, without fear of losing it, and without anticipating what comes next. This is as powerful as it is difficult.
Meditation for psychedelics
Once you are in this slower-paced zone, begin practicing meditation. Instead of elaborate meditation sessions, you can meditate just about anywhere and any time. Simply take a moment of silence when you are not doing anything in particular. Even if you only have five minutes. Sit down, breathe and rest your eyes in the distance.
There are no rules, it’s just you creating a moment for yourself. This can be challenging in the beginning, but remember that the more frequently you practice, the more natural you’ll be able to enter into this state. Simply observe what’s there. Let birds fly by without following where they go. Watch how a breeze caresses the leaves on a tree. Be like that tree.
Setting your intention
Your intention can be a single phrase you can always remember, or even one word. An intention is not a goal with a specific outcome, but rather a broad theme with a spectrum of possible forthcoming insights and scenarios.
During a psychedelic journey, you can experience an influx of ideas. An intention can help you stay grounded and give meaning to your journey. It can also be an aspect of yourself that you would like to learn more about.
A few days before your journey, take ample time to sit down somewhere quiet and ponder on the following questions in order to clarify your intention:
- What is most prevalent in your mind at the moment?
- Which parts of myself or my life need attention or reconsideration?
- Is there any belief, thought pattern or habit that is holding me back?
- Is there anything I may need to let go of?
Psychedelic guidance: Do I need a trip sitter?
When planning a psychedelic journey, regardless of what dosing you have in mind, you may prefer to have someone with you. We call this a sitter, or a facilitator. A trip sitter is a person that serves as a steady and supportive presence while you experience your journey. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a sitter that suits you. In this article we’ve defined a few guidelines on finding the right sitter.
Preparing the body for a psychedelic trip
Naturally, your experience will benefit significantly from a body well cared for. You can start preparing your body whenever you feel ready – but please try to really put in some effort at least one week before your psychedelic trip. You’ll find that most of the following recommendations are good habits to start and keep.
Connect with your body
We are often caught-up in our minds and thoughts, even to a point where we kind of disconnect from the body. This is why we’ve created a series of practices to help you reconnect with your body. You’ll find several movement practices and breathing exercises in the Spinoza app to help you bring your attention out of the thinking mind and into your body. Some practices will get the energy moving, others will release tension and help you feel calmer. Find out which practices work for you.
We understand that this may be easier said than done. But when you understand the importance of getting a few nights of good quality sleep before your psychedelic trip, you may allow yourself to sleep by yourself, in another room, for example, without being disturbed or woken up by anyone. Please make sure you are as rested as you can be in the days leading up to your journey.
In the days leading up to your psychedelic trip, listen intently to your body and feel what it needs. Nourish yourself consciously. What’s also good to keep in mind, is that the body doesn’t always need as much as we may think. We recommend healthy, light and easy to digest foods, such as grilled vegetables and fresh fruit. Please avoid dairy products, meat, and processed or fried foods, which are more difficult to digest. Keep it light and clean.
Caffeine reduction before your psychedelic trip
Some people experience headaches on days without coffee. This is why we advise to minimize your caffeine intake a few days to a week before your psychedelic trip. On the day of your journey, it’s best to stay off caffeine altogether. Why so? Because caffeine is a stimulant that can cause feelings of nervousness. You are likely to stay closer to the surface and less able to dive deep into your journey. Remember that teas such as Black, Green, White, and Oolong tea contain caffeine too. Herbal teas such as chamomile and peppermint contain no caffeine and are fine to drink.
Alcohol avoidance before a psychedelic trip
Alcohol makes the mind less stable and has a negative influence on your system in general. It heavily blurs your mind and awareness. Ideally, you want to enter a psychedelic journey with a calm, balanced and clear mind. This is why we recommend refraining from alcohol at least one week in advance.
Fasting before psychedelics
On the day of your journey, we recommend fasting. There will be less factors in your system to interfere with the substance, and you will go into your journey with a light and open body. However, if fasting doesn’t feel right to you, listen to your body and eat something light in the morning. We recommend not eating anything 4-6 hours prior to your journey.
Forest bathing: Shinrin-yoku benefits
As a part of your preparation, we’d like to suggest a healthy habit, which the Japanese refer to as forest bathing: Shinrin-yoku. Japanese research has shown that forest bathing reduces stress-levels and can decrease depression, fatigue and anxiety, while improving the cardiovascular and metabolic function.
Mindfulness in nature
Being in nature is a very calming practice, especially when you consciously connect with nature with all your senses. Open your ears for the songs of birds and branches swaying in the wind. Open your eyes to the many shades of green and golden rays of sunlight peeking through the forest roof. Open your nose to enjoy the fine fragrance of the forest. Touch a tree and feel the earth with your bare feet.
Remember that you are nature, too. And so it’s also highly recommended to connect with yourself consciously. Nature is a perfect place to begin.
Practice being present
Consciously practicing presence and awareness in your everyday life will expand your general sense of knowing and makes the process of integration after your journey easier. We have developed a series of guided meditations, breathwork and movement exercises which you can find in the practices section in the Spinoza app.
Try being aware of yourself and others whom you are interacting with. Cultivate the habit of listening to your surroundings, in particular to nature. Feel the elements that support you– the ground beneath your feet, the air that you breathe and pay attention to the food that nourishes you.
Psychedelics can bring balance and divert part of our outward gaze inwards. We learn to listen more intently to our body, how it feels, its energy and emotions. Looking within helps you understand yourself, which clears the mind and helps it make better choices in life.
This also brings a broader sense of awareness of the world and your place in it. Looking within ultimately helps discern what’s essential and what is not. It helps you focus on the things that truly matter.