The heart chakra for thousands of years has been known as the center of love, unity, and balance.
When was the last time you felt open, receptive, forgiving, accepting, generous, and connected to both yourself and other people? This was most likely when your heart chakra was healthy and balanced.
However, if you chronically experience a sense of social isolation, loneliness, resentment, bitterness or fear, you likely have a blocked heart chakra.
There are many causes of a blocked, suppressed or stagnant heart chakra. Some of the most common life experiences that impair the heart chakra include experiencing physical or emotional abuse as a child, being raised by an emotionally cold or narcissistic parent, being denied affection and love growing up, adopting unhealthy societal beliefs surrounding love, and developing self-destructive habits that block the giving and receiving of love.
This guide will help you initiate your own unique process of heart chakra healing.
What is the Heart Chakra?
The heart chakra, or Anahata, is the center of love, balance, and connection. Located right in the center of the chest in the heart region, the heart chakra is associated with the color green and the element of air. This chakra is responsible for regulating the energy associated with self-acceptance, self-love, compassion, openness, and unconditional love of others.
What is Heart Chakra Healing?
Heart chakra healing is the practice of opening, clearing, cleansing, supporting, and strengthening the heart chakra within our bodies.
Heart chakra healing involves using a number of holistic remedies to bring the body, mind, and spirit into alignment.
Such remedies often involve catharsis, aromatherapy, sound healing, movement and color therapy, meditation, and crystal healing to re-establish harmony within the body-mind organism.
19 Signs of an Unhealthy Heart Chakra
The best way to tell whether you need to undergo heart chakra healing is to pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, actions, and physical sensations within your body.
Here are some signs to look out for:
- You feel disconnected from the people around you (even those closest to you)
- You are withdrawn and try to avoid socializing with people
- You tend to be needy in your relationships, OR …
- You tend to feel emotionally distant in your relationships
- You are terrified of being alone
- You gain your self-worth from other people (you’re a people-pleaser)
- You find it hard to forgive and you hold grudges easily
- You find it hard to let go of bitter and angry thoughts
- You always feel a sense of anger towards other people/life
- You suffer from social anxiety
- You frequently feel jealous of other people
- You tend to have many self-critical thoughts
- You are constantly replaying or reliving your trauma
- You carry a deep sense of fear
- You have adopted the role of the victim or martyr
- You have poor boundaries making you prone to developing codependent relationships
- You struggle to give or receive love freely
- You are constantly suspicious and mistrusting of other people
- You have issues with the heart, lung or chest region such as asthma, high blood pressure or poor blood circulation
- You feel a constant sense of heaviness in your chest
How many of these signs can you relate to?
Do You Have a Deficient or Excessive Heart Chakra?
Did you know that there are actually two types of chakra imbalances?
While a deficient heart chakra is passive or energetically “numb,” an excessive heart chakra is energetically aggressive or manic.
Here’s a breakdown of the difference between the two:
Deficient = lifeless, sluggish, passive, blocked, inwards (not enough energy flows in).
Excessive = lively, agitated, reactive, aggressive, outwards (too much energy flows in).
Therefore, if you have a deficient heart chakra, you will be more prone to issues such as social anxiety, isolation, and self-critical thoughts. On the other hand, if you have an excessive heart chakra you will be prone to clinginess, smothering displays love, and adopting the role of martyr.
The question is, what type of imbalance do you have? It’s also possible to fall somewhere in the middle.
So what does a healthy and balanced heart chakra look and feel like?
When you have a clear, strong and harmonious heart chakra, you will firstly feel open and receptive.
You will no longer struggle with isolation, fear, and bitterness, but instead, you’ll feel courageous enough to open your heart to others. You’ll realize that you can only truly learn how to love others when you love yourself. Profound self-acceptance and self-love will come to define your relationship with yourself.
As a result, your heart will soften and feel safe around others, even when they try to hurt you.
Not only will you develop self-love, but you will begin to release old toxic behavioral patterns that came to define your relationships. You will give up being a victim or martyr, and you will come to trust in yourself more. The more trust and love you develop towards yourself, the more you will be able to show compassion and understanding to others. You will feel loving, expansive, receptive, and forgiving of both yourself and other people.
Here are the best heart chakra healing practices out there which will help you balance this energy center:
1. Go forest bathing
As green is the color of the heart chakra, going out in nature will help your heart to open. “Forest bathing” is actually a term that originated in Japan known as Shinrin Yoku, and it has many scientifically proven benefits. If you don’t live near a forest, don’t worry. Simply go to your local park, woodland, bushland or other areas full of greenery. If you live in a city with no nature, try getting a pot plant or indoor shrubs to encourage heart chakra healing.
2. Do a loving kindness meditation
A balanced heart is beautiful. It dissolves the illusion of separateness and shares loving kindness with others. If your heart chakra feels congested, try the loving kindness meditation. Simply sit down in a quiet spot and connect with your breath. Allow your chest area to soften as you direct loving energy towards yourself. Afterward, choose four different types of people to direct loving energy towards including a loved one, a person close to you, a neutral person (like an acquaintance), and an enemy or hostile person. You might like to visualize loving energy or say a mantra such as “I radiate love to you” to assist with this meditation.
3. Establish clear personal boundaries
Examine where in your life you are permitting other people to overstep your boundaries. At what times do you say “yes” when you desperately want to say “no”? Which people in your life ask too much from you? In which areas of your life do you feel anxious and ungrounded? Develop the habit of drawing the line and respectfully letting people know where your limits are. Practice assertiveness and take care of yourself.
4. Use the following herbs
Use herbs such as rose, astragalus, holy basil, hawthorn, nettle, hops, and angelica to open and clear the heart chakra.
One of the best ways to take herbs is to drink them as tea. For the heart chakra, I recommend Buddha Teas’ soothing and 100% organic Heart Chakra Tea which you can buy here. This tea is infused with the essence of rose quartz.
5. Practice empathy by asking “What if?”
It can be easy for the mind to make rash conclusions about other people. Often these conclusions are judgmental, harsh, and unloving. The next time you find yourself feeling angry towards another person, ask the question “What if?” For example, if someone is rude to you, ask, “What if that person just lost their job?” Or if you struggle to get along with someone else, ask, “What if that person’s childhood traumatized them so much that they can’t relate to others?” Remember that there is always a story behind the behavior of others.
6. Hug more
Human beings are social creatures that require loving physical contact in order to remain healthy. Hugging releases oxytocin which is a chemical that calms down the entire body and is a natural antidepressant. Try to hug your loved ones more. If you don’t have anyone to hug, try hugging yourself as an expression of self-love.
7. Show self-love by giving yourself the permission to feel
One of the greatest forms of violence we show towards ourselves unknowingly is avoiding our emotions. Our emotions are not made to be controlled, repressed or shut out – they are expressions of our humanity that we need to embrace. Give yourself the permission to be unhappy, angry, sad, bored, jealousy, and all emotions which you usually shun. Anchor yourself in your breath, and allow these emotions to pass through you. Read more about opening your heart and experiencing your emotions.
8. Allow yourself to receive love
Often times we tend to ignore or downplay expressions of love from other people out of low self-esteem and fear. Instead of denying affection or compliments, experiment with accepting them graciously. You might feel a little bit awkward at first, but this simple change in behavior can open up your heart more.
9. Meditate with the following crystals
Use crystals as energetic totems that will help you balance your heart energy. Try meditating or carrying crystals such as jade, malachite, rose quartz, emerald, rhodonite, prehnite, ruby, green fluorite, and chrysocolla. My favorite at the moment is rhodonite.
10. Be thankful and show gratitude
It’s unfortunate that we take so much for granted. One of the best heart chakra healing practices out there is simply to acknowledge all the blessings you have. Simply sit down and look at, or think of, all the things you love about your life. Silently say “thank you” to each one of them or say a prayer of gratitude if that feels appropriate.
11. Do shadow work
Often when our heart chakra is closed, it means that we are storing a lot of dark energy within our subconscious minds. Your shadow self is the part of you where all of your rejected and denied personality traits, thoughts, feelings, habits, and socially unacceptable ego parts are stored. When you start to access these locked away parts of you and embrace them, your heart immediately opens a little more. Read more about the shadow self and shadow work.
12. Cleanse the heart chakra with essential oils
Use oils such as marjoram, rose, ylang ylang, lavender, neroli, and angelica. You can put these oils into an oil diffuser, rub them on your wrist (in a diluted form), or wear them in a diffusing pendant.
13. Do a forgiveness ritual
Forgiveness starts with you first. In what ways have you mistreated yourself? Write a loving letter to yourself asking for forgiveness, and either burn it or keep it someplace safe. If you’re holding onto resentment towards another person, try a self-designed ritual that includes one of the elements (earth, fire, water, wind). For example, if you need to forgive your mother, try lighting a candle and saying a prayer such as, “Dear Life/Spirit, may my heart release resentment towards my mother. Amen.” Then blow out the candle.
14. Eat more of these foods
Introduce more of the following fruit and vegetables into your diet which resonate with the heart chakra: kiwi fruit, spinach, kale, green apples, pears, chard, lettuce, broccoli, peas, avocados, cabbage, peppers, zucchini, grapes, and celery.
15. Let go of the Martyr role
A Martyr is a person who has adopted the role of the self-sacrificing saint. The only problem is that this role is fuelled by low self-esteem, the desire for praise and adoration, and the avoidance of self-responsibility. Martyrs will take care of everyone else but themselves, and will often resort to unconsciously manipulating those around them to maintain their role.
If you tend to be a Martyr in your relationship, try to find another healthy role to adopt such as the friend, confidant, peacemaker or helper. Read more about how to overcome martyrdom.
16. Clear blocks with yoga
Stretch your body and balance your heart chakra energy with poses such as cobra, cat, forward bend, eagle, camel, and fish pose.
17. Learn how to breathe deeply
As the heart chakra is ruled by the element of air, learning how to breathe deeply is vital. You can try pranayama techniques such as alternate nostril breathing, or you can simply slow your breathing down organically. Remember, it is actually abnormal for us to take shallow chest breaths. The deeper our breath is, the more oxygen we introduce to our cells. The more oxygen our body has, the better our metabolism functions, and the more relaxed we feel. If you suffer from heart chakra issues such as social anxiety, deep breathing is a powerful practice.
18. Use empowering affirmations
Open your heart by repeating meaningful phrases that reprogram the unconscious mind. Choose an affirmation such as, “I am open,” “I embrace who I am,” “I release all fear,” “I listen to my heart,” “I love and forgive others,” “I nurture my inner child,” “I am worthy of love,” “I open myself to love.” Try starting each morning with one of these affirmations.
19. Do one kind thing each day
Are you a thoughtful person? People with blocked heart chakras have the tendency to be self-absorbed and even emotionally cold. In order to open your heart, try doing something kind each day and share with others. For example, you might like to offer a compliment to someone, say something encouraging or carry out a generous favor.
Laughter is great medicine and it can be used to open the heart chakra. Find something to laugh about every day, even if that means watching your favorite cat-in-a-costume videos on Youtube.
21. Hum “YAM”
This sound matches the vibration of the heart chakra. Try drawing out the letters into sounds, such as “yyyyyyaaaaaammmmmm.” You might also like to listen to binaural beats (a form of music healing therapy) which helps to activate and clear all the chakras through alternating sound waves. Try these chakra healing songs.
After reading all this information, you might be wondering what you should do next.
I recommend picking a handful of activities from the list above that you’re naturally drawn to. Make sure you identify whether you have a deficient or excessive chakra blockage (or a mixture), and choose accordingly. Experiment with each healing modality for a couple of weeks and observe how you feel.