Why Environment Is So Important When Using Psychedelics

The setting of your experience (both inside and outside your body) is everything when it comes to psychedelics

Psychedelics and environment
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Some people randomly indulge in mushrooms or LSD, but the setting is everything when using psychedelics for recreational doses. When micro-dosing, the effects are less noticeable and on a smaller scale, so setting may not be as vital. Let us have a look as to why the environment is so important when using psychedelics.

Three different things are interacting during the course of your psychedelic usage – the substance, your internal state of mind, and the external environment where you’re experiencing all that beauty.

A quiet camping trip with friends might be the ultimate introspective moment filled with clarity and positivity. But a loud and crowded music festival can lead to a never-ending panic of anxiety, stress, and what people refer to as a “bad trip.”

Importance of Environment When Using Psychedelics

The same exact drug can seem like the opposite of itself when used in the wrong environment. But why is that?

It’s because psychedelics encourage insight, which something like a nightclub or music festival might not. These substances make us incredibly sensitive to what’s going on internally and externally at the core of it.

This is referred to as “set and setting,” a concept established by Timothy Leary in the 1964 guidebook to psychedelics called “The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead.”

Setting is Key

This explores the entire relationship between those interior and exterior factors that ultimately determine your psychedelic adventure.

Outside of nature, most settings are socially constructed, which can shape the experience. Society’s attitude towards psychedelics will greatly alter that experience.

For that reason, nature is an all-time favorite of ours when it comes to tripping. You can choose to do it alone, with a partner, or with a group of people you trust.

Being around strangers doesn’t often bode well, since sometimes psychedelics can make you feel vulnerable and more prone to being judged. Hence, the music festival or clubbing nightmare.

But nature allows you to be at peace with yourself. It gives you the mental space and clarity to digest the trip, and if desired, with individuals that you feel entirely comfortable around.

In your trip, try to include:

  • A social support system
  • Safe and fast medical support (emotional support is equally important)
  • Familiar places and people
  • Things that induce comfort. Think spaces (nature, certain colors), foods, music, or belongings that mean something to you.

Ultimately, our state of mind and the world around us are our lenses through which we absorb reality, sober or not. So, of course, they would be prominent while tripping on psychedelics, which is basically a journey that our mind has constructed out of existing material and the visuals around us.

If you’re not comfortable in your setting, you’ll have an anxious state of mind. And with that mindset, the generally creativity-enhancing aspect of a substance could very quickly turn anxiety-inducing.  These substances are shapeshifters, so just remember that context is everything. Listen to yourself, your desires, and your boundaries, and respect each one of them before you consume.

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Written by Naima Karp

Naima is trying to navigate the waters of being a twenty-something year old while empowering and inspiring those of all walks. She’s a New York City native, and still resides there. She’s been writing since she was a teenager on relationships, fashion, lifestyle and more. She has roots in many pots, being half Russian and half Pakistani, and hopes to learn as much as she can about other cultures while growing as an author.

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