One thing that scares people from psychedelics and other similar substances is the possibility of a bad trip. From a broader perspective, psychedelic substances truly have the potential to give different experiences. This includes emotional, cognitive, and physical experiences.
Psychedelic substances are everywhere, and there’s nothing wrong in saying “NO, thank you.” However, a bad trip or these challenging trips are something people experience. Also, it’s not easy to tell when such an experience will come. But there are ways to tell whether a psychedelic journey will be challenging or not.
In this article, I will show you some of the reasons why people experience bad trips. Continue reading to find out more.
Five Reasons Why People Have a Bad Trip
There are several reasons why people experience bad trips, but here are some of the most common reasons:
Tripping with the Wrong People
Late Anthony Bourdain advised people not to take LSD or related substances with assholes in Netflix’s Have a Good Trip movie. This is, in fact, wise advice for every other mood-altering substance. The experience that is gotten from these substances is both internal and personal. However, external influences can also impact the trip you get.
If you must trip with other people, it’s important to ensure they feel supported, safe, and comfortable. However, tripping with a feeling of insecurity or anxiety because of the people around you makes things worse. This is because the psychedelic substance you are taking will only amplify the feeling. The most important thing when it comes to tripping with other people is trust.
Tripping in the Wrong Setting
In addition to ensuring that you don’t trip with the wrong people, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re tripping in the right setting. A key term that is often used when it comes to psychedelics is set and setting. This phrase was actually coined by psychedelic activist and psychologist Timothy Leary in 1964.
Set is used in describing the mindset you have before the psychedelic experience. The setting, on the other hand, describes the surrounding environment during the trip. This is mostly the space surrounding you, your level of comfort in the space, and the people around you.
You might wonder what an ideal setting for a good psychedelic experience is like. It’s simple; you only need to make it a personal one. This is because space may be comfortable for you but not for another person.
Also, the factors that make a set or setting comfortable may differ with different cultures. For example, some psychonauts only enjoy tripping in a retreat, but others prefer a clinic. The majority prefer to trip in the comfort of their homes. It’s mostly different depending on individual preference.
Irrespective of the set and setting, most people prefer access to safe and secure outdoor and indoor spaces. These spaces usually have comfortable places where they can rest and enjoy the type of warmth they desire. In addition, you’ll also want to ensure that you have access to snacks, water, emergency services, and comfortable clothing.
Setting High Expectations
People have different expectations, but you can only know the psychedelic experience as it unfolds. Entering the psychedelic state with strict expectations will only leave you disappointed. You may struggle to deal with what the experience will offer you.
One key thing that you should always remember is that psychedelic substances inspire differently. However, with substances like psilocybin, you can amplify your desired effects.
Another reason why people tend to have bat trips is that many don’t prepare beforehand. Most people tend to overlook preparing for a psychedelic experience, but it’s key for the set and setting. The first thing you should do is take time and think and set a motive before the experience. This will help you get into the psychedelic experience with a positive mindset.
You need to ask yourself questions to know one of the following:
- The answers you’ll get from the psychedelic experience
- Whether you are prepared to face the challenges that follow
- If you’re using the experience to escape from a real-life situation
- The type of feeling the experience will give you
Being able to answer these questions will help you reduce any potential harm. It will also assist you in maintaining focus on your psychological and emotional health during the experience.
One thing to note is that your lifestyle can also influence the set and setting. You need to be well-nourished and get enough sleep before the trip begins. These are the key factors influencing your well-being and health before and during the journey.
Not Remembering your Grounding Tools
People with anxiety already know what the feeling is like. In general, anxiety, discomfort, and fear are amplified during a bad trip. These feelings can become very intense during this time. When preparing for your trip, it’s important to have grounding tools. This is to serve as a fallback option during the experience. It may be changing settings, playing music, breathing exercises, or lying down.
There are so many grounding tool options that you can use, and it mostly depends on individual preferences. The overall aim is to find a way to engage yourself mentally while you enjoy the psychedelic experience.
Surviving a Bad Trip
In addition to knowing why people experience a bad trip, it’s also good to know how to survive one. There are a few strategies that I use to navigate a bad trip, and you can try these steps:
This is rather too simple for many, and they don’t believe it could work. However, you’ll be surprised at how it will easily help you navigate a bad trip. Always remember to breathe mindfully whenever you have a bad trip. If it gets harder, you can try to exhale longer than you inhale.
Alternatively, you can try a few mindful activities, like meditation or yoga. A blend of these activities alongside breathwork exercises will make things easier for you.
Regardless of the type of experience you get, it’s always good to surrender fully to the experience. It’s best to embrace the feeling, whether you feel like exploding, going crazy, dissolving, melting, or dying.
Most people make the mistake that they try to fight the feeling, but it only worsens everything. You only need to show curiosity and compassion to the negative experiences, feelings, or thoughts.
Change the Set and Settings
As mentioned earlier, psychedelics are generally sensitive to the environment. Therefore, the environment can also significantly influence the type of experience you get and your overall mood. You should consider switching things up by moving around whenever you have a bad trip. This will help you transform your mood into a better one.
Before you start tripping, one of the most important things you should do is find a distraction. You can start by experimenting with different things until you are able to find an appropriate distraction. It could be textures, sounds, sights, or anything that works for you.
You no longer need to be scared of having a bad trip because it’s easy to manage. I have highlighted the possible causes and how to navigate a bad experience to help you.
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