You may have heard this before–Timothy Leary first used the terms “set and setting” to describe the importance of your mindset and your surroundings as they relate to the impact on your psychedelic experience. When you use a psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD, your “set and setting” greatly affect how it will play out. If you prepare yourself ahead of time with some simple precautions or controls, you can increase the odds of having a positive experience.

Set (your mindset)

Here are some tips for determining your mood or mindset, to make sure you are in the right headspace to start your journey.

  • Resist peer pressure: You should never feel pressured into anything. Follow your gut. This is not the time to try to please others.
  • Don’t take psychedelics if you’re feeling nervous: Trip when your mood is right. If you are feeling nervous, uneasy, or depressed, do not embark on a psychedelic journey.
  • Don’t trip if you’re sick: A psychedelic trip will exaggerate your condition, so if you are not feeling well, in any way, even tired, don’t add a psychedelic experience.
  • Consider your mental health status: If you have a mental health condition, whether acquired or hereditary, specifically one that makes you feel panic or confusion, avoid psychedelics.
  • Research the drug beforehand: This is particularly important if you are ingesting an organic substance like shrooms. Strains have different potencies, as do different batches. Know what to expect from the experience. Minimize the odds for a surprise.
  • Go with the flow: Stay open-minded and avoid trying to control the outcome or overthink the experience.
  • Be smart with dosing: Don’t push it. It is better to be conservative with the dose until you understand the full effect. If your “heroic dose” results in a negative experience, it is more difficult to come down.

Setting (your surroundings)

Here are some tips for making sure you are in a good place physically. Things like crowds, shouting, loud music, or being hurried, are less desirable.

  • Location: If you consider nothing else, make sure you are in a good place physically. It greatly affects some of the other circumstances. Try a familiar place, like your own home or yard. Loud or crowded places are problematic.
  • Setting preparation: What will you have around you on this journey? Try to create some comfy surroundings, like pillows or blankets. Have water handy, also soothing sounds or music helps.
  • Electronic devices: You probably want to shut off electronic devices. Our lives are filled with many alarms and notices. It is best to keep this to a minimum during this period.
  • Set aside some time and space: You will be a sitting duck for unexpected visitors or phone calls. No deadlines, no errands, and no in-laws. This is a time devoted to the trip.
  • Surround yourself with people you enjoy: This becomes a zone for friends, trusted people, sympathizers, and collaborators, only.
  • Don’t trip in a dangerous place: Your reaction time, coordination and general motor skills are affected, not to mention your judgement, so avoid any dangerous or even adventurous situations.
  • Have a trip sitter with you: This one may be the most important. The presence of a trusted and sober trip sitter is such a good thing. You don’t even have to communicate with them. Just them being there is enough.

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