Setting Intentions for a Psychedelic Trip

People often talk about setting intentions for a psychedelic trip, but what does setting intentions mean? Why do people set intentions, and how do they support a psychedelic experience? 

Broadly, setting intentions is the practice of taking the time to think about the psychedelic experience you’re hoping for before engaging in the practice. The goal of setting intentions is to prepare your mindset and create a framework to use as a guide for the experience. 

It may seem that intentions are the same as goals. While there are similarities between intentions and goals, there are also some crucial differences. 

Goals tend to be very specific, time-constrained, focused on the future and external to oneself. While intentions are something we can practice every day, they are aimed at the present moment and focused on oneself and our relationships with others. 

Why Set Intentions for a Psychedelic Trip

Psychedelics can bring on intense emotions that can quickly become the focus of the experience. However, when you set intentions, they can be used as a guide (like a mantra) to bring you back to the present and keep you grounded. 

How to Set Intentions

The first step in setting intentions for a psychedelic trip is taking the time to consciously think about what you hope to gain from the experience. 

Are you hoping to de-stress? Reconnect with the people in your life (close friends or partners)? Explore your relationship with yourself.

It’s okay if you don’t have an exact answer yet. Your intention doesn’t necessarily have to be specific. Beginners may want to simply start with an intention like, ‘I want to remain open to what this experience can teach me.’ This alone can help remind you to remain present and calm, and open to letting the experience lead you where it will without anxiousness. 

You may want a more specific intention. If that’s the case, think about the places in your life where you’re feeling stuck, where you could use some insight or some work. Consider the things you’d like to change in your life. 

How to word my goals as intentions? 

Many people are using psychedelics for their mental wellness, but looking to better manage anxiety symptoms isn’t an intention. Consider the prefixes “help me,” “teach me,” or “show me” when wording your intentions. 

In the case of mental wellness, you may set an intention like: “show me what causes my anxiety,” or “teach me how to better express my boundaries with others.” 

If you’re struggling with setting intentions, consider sitting down with those you plan to trip with and talking through it together. Hopefully, the people you’ve chosen to trip with are people you trust and know well, so they may have some insight into where to start or may be able to help you turn your thoughts into a concrete intention. 

Remember, we don’t always know what we want or need; try to go into the experience with an open-minded, not a rigid goal. Setting an intention doesn’t mean you will accomplish it in this psychedelic experience. Our intentions give us a starting place, but maybe something more pressing comes up during the experience; it’s okay to allow yourself to go with that. 

Taking the time to record your thoughts and feelings after a psychedelic experience can be helpful in the growth process and an excellent tool for self-reflection. If you don’t feel like you accomplished your intentions, it also may be beneficial to take the time to journal after the experience. Maybe your intentions were addressed more indirectly, and the benefits may become apparent over the next several days or weeks. 

What About Microdosing? Should I Set Intentions for Microdosing

a psychedelic trip
Sterile container with the mycelium of psilocybin mushrooms, psilocybe cubensis. Pin and primordia of the rasta white variety. Cultivation, creation of conditions. Microdosing, psychedelic trip

It’s up to you whether or not you want to set intentions with microdosing; however, we still find them helpful. 

For some people, setting intentions with microdosing may look more like goal setting because they are thinking more long-term than with a single psychedelic experience. 

With microdosing, you may want to think both longer-term and short-term. It can be helpful to outline your intentions when it comes to the entire microdosing experience. You may be seeking to manage stress better, deal with symptoms of depression, be more productive at work, or find more creativity. 

At the same time, it can be helpful to set daily intentions. Or at least the days you’re doing. Think about what you can do on that day to help you move towards the larger intention you’ve set for yourself. For example, if you’re looking to manage stress better, consider what you can do to make room for self-care today or one thing you can do to slow down slightly. 

Final Thoughts on Setting Intentions for a Psychedelic Trip

Whether you’re microdosing or preparing for a full psychedelic trip, setting intentions can help you consciously move through the experience and bring you back to the purpose if your mind begins to stray. 

That being said, don’t force it. Use your intentions as a guide but be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to move through the experience in whatever way you need to. It may open you up to something you weren’t expecting, and that’s okay. Taking the time to think about the experience afterwards can help you integrate it into your life and guide you through the learning. 

Related: The Best Activities for Your First Psychedelic Trip