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A No Nonsense Guide To Preventing A Bad Trip – Psychedelic Harm Reduction 101



Throughout many cultures, entheogens have been used for thousands of years by Shamanic healers around the world. Modern psychotherapy is just beginning to scratch the surface of realizing the potential applications of using psychedelics in therapy. The past decade has shown a surge in western interest towards shamanic medicines such as Ayahuasca and Iboga. Psychedelics are tools that can help us on our journey, provided that we use them responsibly. It is important to realize that there are psychological implications of abusing them and not using them in the right setting. This article and the video below will detail various steps you can take to prevent yourself from having a bad trip. Armed with this information, you will be able to have a better experience should you choose to add entheogens to the equation of your spiritual exploration.

When using entheogens one should be aware that they have a profound effect on our emotions. Whatever emotion you are experiencing will be felt 10 times more intensely. If you are happy you will feel extremely happy, and if you are sad, you will feel extremely sad. It is important to assess your mental state of mind prior to consuming a psychedelic. If you are going through a rough time in your life, it may not be the best time to do a psychedelic because the memories, feelings, and thoughts associated with this rough patch of your life may and likely will resurface throughout the experience. However, if you feel you have the mental fortitude to trip, then having those experiences resurface can be very therapeutic. It can be a way of conquering your fears and past trauma. Ayahuasca, MDMA, and psilocybin mushrooms have all been know to improve our personal development and allow us to process past trauma in a way that we can come to terms with.

Prior to doing psychedelics, every effort to avoid negative thoughts from infiltrating your trip should be taken. Even if you aren’t necessarily going through a rough time in your life but you simply had a bad day, that alone can makes its way into your experience and manifest into something negative. I would recommend meditating for 5 minutes prior to tripping. Always use entheogens in an environment that is safe and peaceful. Nature is a great place to use them, or the safety of your own bedroom. Laying down in bed and listening to relaxing music is a good way to navigate your trip into a positive space. Always keep your environment clean and free of clutter because this can infiltrate your experience and cause anxiety. If you are a less experienced entheogen user, you should always have a sitter with you (someone who is not on any psychedelic who can watch over you while you trip).

You can also talk to your experience as if it was an intelligent entity. Whenever negative feelings unfold, simply talk to it and say “Take me somewhere else, show me something new!” You don’t have to repeat this out loud, you can simply think this silently in your mind. I have used this method many times and it has worked wonderfully on many occasions.

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Another way of preventing a bad trip is to have a safe word that you can say out loud or think silently in your mind. It can be any word that you associate with positivity. A mantra, your mother’s name, your kid’s name, your favorite color, anything that makes you happy and is associated with love and safety. I use the word “Light,” which I repeat several times when my experience is taking a turn for the worse. I will also try to visualize light as if it were bursting through the cracks of the bad experience, allowing my consciousness to be showered in light and love.

You also have to be able to put things in perspective and understand that sometimes having a bad trip isn’t always a negative thing. Entheogens can reveal things to you in the most unforgiving manner but it can still be an experience that you need to go through in order to better understand yourself, your environment, and your purpose. I have walked away from bad trips feeling much more awake and empathetic to certain injustices that are occurring environmentally and culturally. I was shown and felt things throughout the trip that were hard to experience but made me more conscious of it nonetheless. You can learn more about one of those experiences here.

Bad trips have also made me confront issues about myself that haven’t been addressed or were swept under the rug. I have sometimes felt extreme empathy for anyone I may have hurt in the past. Certain responsibilities I may have put off or procrastinated on eventually get shoved back into my face during my trips. If anything, entheogens have made me a more responsible person, especially through some of the bad experiences I have encountered. We are unaware that most of the time there is likely a positive learning experience to gain from a bad trip.

I always say that psychedelics aren’t for everyone. Not everyone is meant to use these medicines for spiritual and personal growth but if you do decide to dive into the world of entheogens, it is important to take the above precautions and trip responsibly. You should never solely rely on psychedelics for spiritual growth, but rather you should look at them as an additional tool you can use for your ever expanding conscious evolution. With the right intention, you can gain access to parts of yourself that you may not have been able to access before in the most ego shattered abstract state of awareness you can experience. You can visit for more resources pertaining to psychedelic harm reduction.

About the Author

Jonathon Twiz, a self-proclaimed psychonaut, a lover of creating music, a contemplator of physics and the unseen world. He stands by the Socratic philosophy that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Follow him at: Tweet him @jtwiz

**This article was featured at Learning Mind and was used here with permission.

Featured image from: KarmaJello, Original artist source:

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