Updated: Jan 9
Microdosing psychedelics is a subtle yet potent practice with reported benefits ranging from enhanced creativity and focus, to improved mood, reduced substance abuse, and an overall state of well-being.
While some individuals report immediate and pronounced benefits, I often hear from frustrated microdosers who report not experiencing any effects or changes. Although a variety of factors like body chemistry, medical history, recent medication use, and lifestyle must be examined to accurately assess the cause, very often what is needed is a mindful approach and container to support the practice.
Our Western culture's relationship to medicines is often transactional and devoid of a framework that accurately acknowledges the role of our intention and approach in influencing outcomes. While studies of the placebo and nocebo effects have clearly and repeatedly demonstrated the role of our thoughts, perceptions, and expectations on the outcomes, the profound wisdom of these findings has not been integrated into the public zeitgeist.
It never ceases to amaze me just how much our approach influences our results. This is especially true in our work with psychedelics which expand our perception, challenge our understanding of reality, and demonstrate the power of our minds to form and shift our realities. There is perhaps no more powerful practice than microdosing psychedelics to examine and practice the power of our intention and approach.
Here are 4 questions to shape, guide, and support your microdosing practice:
What ritual can I implement to support embodiment?
Embodiment is a key component of microdosing. Our busy and mind-oriented lifestyles have created the perfect conditions for disembodiment. We live in a society that places a far higher value and credibility on cognition than senses which means we spend more of our time entertaining and indulging our thoughts than attuning and exploring our bodies.
Most of us live exposed to a constant wave of stimulation through media, gaming, news, and devices which leave us distracted from our inner voice and innate wisdom of our body's sensations. Instead of tuning into our body's cues and intuition to assess how we feel, we have relinquished our access to this potent well of wisdom and replaced it with superficial and impersonal narratives of commentators, advertisers, and social media personalities.
Microdosing is the potent opportunity to return to our bodies, reconnect, and attune to the inner voice of discernment. Many simple rituals and practices can be implemented to cultivate and support embodiment; mindful dance and movement, breathwork, body presence meditation, and body brushing are my favorites. The key is to pick a practice that allows you to slow down and feel your body's nuanced sensations. The more you tune in, the more you will begin to access new layers of your body's wisdom and intuition.
What am I willing to give up to receive what I seek?
This is a question I often pose to my clients. Another ramification of transactional approaches to medicine is that we've spent much of our lives seeking health and well-being outside of ourselves. We are conditioned to pay a fee for someone else to help us regain our health and well-being. This approach has left us detached and disconnected from our ability to guide our own outcomes leaving us feeling disempowered.
Microdosing offers a powerful opening to recognize and reclaim our power to influence the outcomes. One powerful way to approach the task is to ask "What am I willing to give up to receive what I seek?". Through this practice, we are solidifying our desire and commitment to shift our state of being, and taking responsibility for our outcomes. Empowerment requires taking responsibility for where we are and commitment to where we want to go; that commitment is symbolized by what we are willing to give up to achieve our goal.
When choosing what to give up, it is helpful to consider a commitment in alignment with your desired outcomes and a commitment that is neither easy, not difficult to implement. For example, if my intention is to feel less anxious, then I might commit to reducing or eliminating caffeine from my diet.
What is one simple change I can implement today to plant the seeds of change?
Behavioral change is difficult, so much so that a simple google search will turn up bestselling books, Ted talks, mobile apps, and a wide selection of programs promising to help us change. At the core of all behavioral change is lasting brain changes facilitated by a process called neuroplasticity through which our brains form and strengthen new neural connections over time.
Microdosing has been shown to enhance neuroplasticity and is therefore considered a powerful agent of change but just because the brain is more elastic it doesn't necessarily mean that behavioral change is guaranteed. Think of it as warming up your body for a marathon or a sports game. A warmed-up body does not guarantee that you will complete the marathon or win the game, you will still need practice and perseverance to support your goal. Microdosing alone does not facilitate behavioral change, it is what we do with the elastic brain that dictates the outcomes.
One of the greatest ways to kickstart behavioral change is committing to a simple DAILY practice that you can stick to long-term as an anchor to support more complex changes during your practice. For example, committing not checking your phone for the first 15 -30 minutes after waking up is a powerful way to set the tone for a day and support your confidence in approaching more complex changes throughout the day.
How am I going to support the integration of my experience?
Lastly, having a plan for integrating the day-to-day experience of microdosing is an important factor in shaping your practice. Having a robust and consistent process for mindfully assessing the experience, acknowledging the challenges, celebrating the wins, and documenting the progress is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of microdosing practice.
My go-to practice and recommendation for ensuring proper and timely integration is daily journaling. I recommend having a journal dedicated to microdosing alone where you document your meals, dosage, time of dosing, sensations, and insights. This practice has never ceased to amaze me as it consistently delivers insights that would otherwise go overlooked. Journaling is also a great way to optimize your diet and dose in accordance with your discoveries.
Microdosing practice is a wonderful opportunity to slow down, tune in, develop awareness, and facilitate profound and lasting changes but a mindful, consistent, and conscious container is needed to support optimal and lasting outcomes.
If you would like to explore a personal microdosing protocol or integration support to guide and improve your practice, you can book a complimentary consultation with me to learn more.