Preparing for a psychedelic experience requires deciding what set, setting and dosage will be most conducive to your ideal trip. The right companions, nurturing environment and proper integration can all enhance anyone’s foray with psychedelics. If you are in need of inspiration, the following are the top 5 creative activities that you can enjoy on psychedelics.
The world of journaling has something for everyone. Self-described artists or writers may see the empty pages of a new journal as a fresh opportunity for inspiration and expression. Other people laugh at their own artistic merits and steer clear of the arts and crafts table. For the skeptics, psychedelics could help break down inhibitions, allowing people to express their creative self without judgmental self-talk.
Psychedelics— like LSD or mescaline— alter physical sensations and visual perceptions at varying degrees depending on the dosage. A simple doodle in a journal can be a novel experience, bringing forward fresh sensations and reimagining the experience of doodling all together.
How does the pen sound on the paper? How do different types of writing implements feel? Preconceived ideas of how to use a journal may go out the window, but therein lies the magic of creative expression—there are no rules! Experiment with different pen pressures or turn the page over and try expanding on the previous impressions to see what new creations come from open-minded exploration.
If empty pages aren’t enough to strike the creative match, prompted journals or coloring books can be a more structured way to engage artistic muscles. Some creative journals—like the Pilgrim Soul Creative Journal—encourage the high artist and have specially designed questions to capture the outside-of-the-box thinking characteristic of a cannabis experience.
Research has found physical and emotional benefits from expressive writing exercises like the ones found in the Pilgrim Soul Creative Journal. Writing helps solidify thoughts and concepts, allowing for later review and integration. Luckily, journals can bind all the evidence of creativity in one, easily accessible place.
Research illustrates that students engaging in journal writing exercises show improvements in critical thinking, reflection and emotional expression. When engaging with psychedelics, recording the experience in the written word—if able—can allow people to illustrate thoughts otherwise lost to misty memories.
Movement that would otherwise feel familiar, can be an entirely new adventure when on psychedelics: perhaps colors jump off of flowers on a neighboring terrace or there is a newfound appreciation for the feeling of walking on different ground surfaces.
People categorize movement with musical accompaniment as dance, though this sometimes adds unneeded pressure to simple joyous movement. Psychedelics’ ability to lower inhibitions also helps make some people more open to the physical expression of dance.
According to research, dancing can improve well-being, boost confidence and decrease anxiety: all helpful additions to any psychedelic experience. Psychedelic genres of music are great starting points for tapping into some trippy movement. Psychedelics can distort auditory sensations, opening people up to enjoy new music or reimagine only favorites.
Dancing isn’t the only form of joyful movement. A walk around the block or tossing a ball back and forth with a friend can allow neurons to fire in different parts of your brain, showing users a fuller spectrum of their experience. Mixing psychedelics with movement is common. After all, the first-ever recorded LSD trip included a bicycle ride. Making sure that safety is a top priority can keep the energy positive and adventurous.
Making music is another creative arena that people often feel unsuited for. Without formal training and previous experience, picking up an instrument can be overwhelming. Music is a huge part of early childhood education and is found to increase kid’s retention of new concepts and promote socio-emotional wellbeing.
Though no longer children, psychedelic users can benefit from the child-like exploration of music. If musical ability and instruments are available, awesome! But creative musical exploration doesn’t need any more tools besides the ones existing on the human body. Some of the first forms of musical expression available to human civilizations were clapping hands, stomping feet and vocalizing melodies. Across cultures, singing, chanting and guttural vocalizations allow communities to come together and celebrate ancestral traditions.
Psychedelics and music have a long tradition amongst indigenous groups: Amazonian curanderos perform icaros—sacred mystical songs—during ayahuasca ceremonies and the Native American Church uses rattles alongside their drums and voices during peyote rituals.
Communal music-making helps cultivate a more connective experience. Starting small with humming, clapping or a familiar favorite sing-along is a great beginning, hopefully cultivating an open-minded musical exploration.
Spending time in nature is linked to improvements in emotional, physical and spiritual health. Researchers are unclear on the exact mechanism of action, but anyone who has spent a weekend camping or an afternoon hiking through a nearby park can attest to the regenerative power of the great outdoors.
The term nature bathing started in Japan during the 1980s. Forest bathing or shinrin-yoku emerged as a physiological and psychological exercise meant to reconnect people with nature after the tech boom—hopefully inspiring citizens to protect their country’s forests.
New research backs pairing psychedelics and nature: A 2020 study found similar psychological mechanisms present during both psychedelic administration and contact with nature. The two activities shared benefits like decreased rumination, increased mindfulness and a higher feeling of connectedness. These researchers proposed a synergistic effect when using psychedelics in nature and proposed a synergistic magnification of both activities’ benefits.
Not everyone has the same access to green spaces: race, income, and education level are all factors that correlate with nature accessibility. The ideal scenario is full immersion in nature’s wonders but if nature isn’t easily available, appreciating trees outside a window, tending to a well-loved houseplant or listening to nature soundscapes allows people to tune into nature even when far from green spaces.
Some people prefer enjoying psychedelics solo. The rest of the activities on this list don’t require a partner—though they could be enhanced by one—but conversation involves the active participation of multiple parties. Conversation not only gives people the opportunity to voice their own ideas, but also the chance to hear fresh concepts from their peers.
Psychedelic experiences shared with close friends can be incredibly connective and intimate. The exchange of insights or authentic words of affirmation can help people integrate their psychedelic experiences and feel supported along the way.
With the relieved inhibition that psychedelics provide, conversations may trend away from casual small talk and deepen in subject matter and emotional significance. Research shows that people who engage in more substantial conversations report greater happiness and overall well-being. When using psychedelics, making sure to be around safe and trusted companions can help people have the most rewarding conversational experience.
Have you tried any of these activities on psychedelics? We would love to hear in the comments below. If you have any other ideas of fun creative activities for tripping, let us know!