Guide to Understanding the Heart Chakra + 20 Methods to Restore Balance

What is the heart chakra?

  • Sanskrit Name: Anahata
  • Location: center of the chest, where the heart and lungs reside
  • Color: Green
  • Element: Air
  • Spiritual Attributes: Love, balance, connection, transformation, self-knowledge, empathy, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, grieving, change
  • Regulates Self-acceptance, self-love, compassion for others, openness to receiving and giving love and affection, unconditional love for others, ability to forgive, living as your true self, ability to set healthy boundaries.

In the system of 7 chakras, the heart chakra, or Anahata in Sanskrit, is the 4th. Not only does this chakra reside directly over the actual heart, but is in the center of the chakras with three chakras residing above and below. It is quite literally the “heart” of the chakra system.

image of the symbol for the heart chakra
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Healthy, Balanced Heart Chakra

The heart chakra is the very core of energetic frequency. It is where all emotional and energetic healing is rooted. As it is the unifying chakra, when the Anahata is healed, it allows healing energies to spread to all paths of life.

Healthy Heart Chakra: Woman holding an illuminated heart shape
Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

What is it like to have a healthy, balanced heart chakra?

  • You feel free to be who you truly are instead of molding yourself to external expectations.
  • Greater capacity for warmth, compassion, and empathy towards others.
  • You are open and receptive to love and happiness.
  • Feel courageous to share your heart and happiness with others.
  • Find that you do not struggle with isolation, fear, or bitterness.
  • Find that forgiveness is the easier path to take and have no problem moving on from past traumas.
  • You know that you must love yourself before you can love others, and find that you truly love your own company.
  • Set healthy boundaries for yourself in your relationships, including identifying and separating from toxic situations.
  • Intense emotions become less frightening to face head-on.
  • Develop new ways of accepting and moving past your emotions without having to repress them.
  • Increased sense of connectedness to life.

Two Types of Disruptions

There are two types of disruptions to the adequate flow of energy to the heart chakra: Deficient and Excessive.

Deficient Energy Flow – a low flow of energy, blocked, introspective, passive.

Associated with:

  • anxiety
  • being critical of self
  • isolating oneself from others
  • fear of abandonment resulting in an inability to open up in relationships
  • loss of excitement for life
  • struggle to receive or properly give love

Excessive Energy Flow – too much energy flow, agitated, irritable, overreactive, aggressive, too much focus on outside influences.

Associated with:

  • being clingy and smothering in relationships (also a result of fear of abandonment)
  • aggressiveness
  • a tendency to play the victim or the martyr
  • being excessively angry with others and with life in general
  • paranoia

Symptoms of a Blocked Heart Chakra

Living your life with a blocked heart chakra has a negative effect on your physical, spiritual, and emotional health. How many of the following symptoms resonate with how you currently feel?

Heart Chakra Imbalance: Sad, depressed woman, crying with eyes closed and hand held over her chest.
Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Emotional and Psychological Symptoms

  • A tendency to have a hard time forgiving yourself and others.
  • Can hold onto a grudge, even well after reconciliation.
  • Paranoia. Frequently suspicious or mistrusting of others.
  • Constantly struggle with negative thoughts swirling through your mind.
  • Find your inner dialog relentlessly arguing with others in your head.
  • Have a very hard time letting go of anger and bitterness.
  • Consistently feel anger towards others or situations that are out of your control.
  • Frequently replaying or reliving past traumas.
Heart Chakra Imbalance: Young man sitting on a stump and holding his face in his hands.
Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash
  • Supercritical of self.
  • Find yourself feeling jealous of others pretty regularly.
  • Feel disconnected from loved ones.
  • Ostracize yourself from society due to frequent feelings of social anxiety.
  • Often feel restless and disgruntled, finding it hard to truly be at peace.
  • Have a deep sense of fear like a black cloud hovering over you at all times.
  • A tendency to play the victim or martyr.

Symptoms Concerning Relationships

Heart Chakra imbalance: Man and woman standing far apart and holding hands.
Image by 5688709 from Pixabay
  • Fear of abandonment or being alone.
  • Have poor boundaries in relationships, often being taken advantage of OR bullying your partner to bend to your will.
  • Are either extra-clingy and needy in relationships OR tend to be emotionally distant.
  • Can become and completely consumed by relationships, abandoning your sense of self to try to please others.
  • Struggle to relate to others or have true empathy.
  • Co-dependency in relationships. You often gain your self-worth from others instead of from within yourself.
  • Struggle to give and receive love freely.

Physical Manifestations

Heart Chakra Pain: Image of nude woman's upper back and shoulders with head bent down.
Photo by Hadis Safari on Unsplash
  • You tend to carry a lot of pain and tension in your upper back, between your shoulder blades. As well as the chest, shoulders, and neck. Anger, resentment, and grief are physically stored in these areas.
  • Sleeping is difficult with all of those negative thoughts and emotions swirling through your mind. As a result, you regularly struggle with insomnia.
  • Have health issues concerning the heart, lung, or chest region. Also, you may tend to have issues with low immunity.
  • Tend to be a shallow breather. Taking deep breaths can be a struggle.

Common Reasons the Heart Chakra Becomes Blocked

Starting as early as childhood, there can be many reasons why one’s heart chakra can become blocked. Discovering the root of the blockages is the first step towards healing yourself.

Childhood

  • Having emotionally distant or narcissistic parents.
  • Being denied love and affection while growing up.
  • Witnessing adults in your life who are in unhappy and unaffectionate relationships. Causing you to adopt unhealthy beliefs about love and affection.
  • Experiencing physical or emotional abuse inflicted by family members or kids at school.
  • Being abandoned by a parent as a child, either through their will to leave or by death.

Adulthood

  • Illness.
  • Stress.
  • Emotional conflict.
  • Toxic relationships.
  • Experiencing physical or emotional abuse inflicted by family members, friends, co-workers, or partners in relationships.
  • Unreciprocated love.
  • Struggle to accept the truth about yourself.
  • Developing self-destructive habits that block the giving and receiving of love.

20 Ways You Can Heal Your Heart Chakra

Luckily, no matter how bad off your heart chakra might be, there are tons of ways in which you can start to heal yourself. Pick and choose what methods stand out the most, and try your own experiments. See how you feel after each exercise and continue with what works for you.

Heart Chakra Healing: woman holding wilting flower in front of heart
Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

1. Get to the root of it.

Really take the time to look at the list of causes above. Moreover, think of any other situations in life that may have caused your heart to become closed to love and affection. To move past blockages, you must first uncover the original cause.

2. Give yourself permission to feel.

Closing yourself off from feeling any emotions causes your heart chakra to become blocked and stagnant. Every single day, tell yourself that it is ok to feel all emotions. Allow the emotions to course through your being. Permit yourself to truly experience them. Then lastly, give those emotions permission to leave.

3. Affirmations for the Heart Chakra.

Heart Chakra affirmation - "I love myself unconditionally, and I offer the same love to others"

Repeating affirmations daily can help you to overcome blockages in the Anahata by rewiring the way your brain thinks. Just by repeating these affirmations, you can open yourself to the flow of loving energy. Try picking a few that resonate with you and repeat them to yourself throughout the day.

  • “I am loved and wanted”
  • “My heart is open to love”
  • “I forgive myself and I forgive others”
  • “My heart is free from all the wounds of the past”
  • “I love myself unconditionally and I offer that same love to others”
  • “Everyday, I fulfill my heart’s desire”
  • “I am enough”
  • “At all times, I choose joy, compassion, and love”
  • “I create supporting, loving relationships that are good for me”
  • “For now and always, I am open and receptive to love”
  • “I give my love freely as it brings me joy”
  • “My body is healthy and I am well”

4. Visualization Exercise

Heart Chakra Visualization: Beautifully lit waterfall with rainbow beaming across.
Photo by Jeff Finley on Unsplash

Get comfortable and raise your vibrations

Find yourself a comfortable place to lie down. Take a few long, deep breaths and try to clear your mind of the day’s worries. Feel yourself rising to a higher vibration, connecting you to the universe and your Higher Self.

Close your eyes and imagine with your mind’s eye white, healing light pouring over your from the universe like a waterfall. Starting from the top of your head, allow this light to permeate every cell of your body.

Be conscious of any sensations

Feel the warmth. Feel the vibrations buzzing through you to the core. (It’s ok if you don’t feel anything at all at first)

Clear blockages with healing green light

Rest your hands on your heart chakra, turning your attention to this area. Now imagine the light turning a beautiful shade of healing green and flooding your entire chest cavity.

What do you feel? Can you feel any blockages? Is it hard to expand your rib cage to the sides as you breathe? Do you feel heaviness in your chest and shoulders? Pain in your upper back?

Release physical tensions

Imagine your rib cage separating from your center, your sides expanding with every breath. Feel your abdomen release and drop to the floor. Notice the separation between your upper abdomen and lower abdomen. Imagine your stomach elongating, creating space in the vertebrae of your spine. Free the heart chakra from the solar plexus.

Breathwork

Fill that newly opened space with air from each long inhale. Sending the air first towards your back and then down, filling your entire belly. When the stomach and ribs can expand no more, hold that breath there for a few seconds.

Slowly release the breath. Feel the stomach return to the earth as you slowly exhale until your lungs are completely empty.

Continue to repeat this breathing technique while you imagine that the healing green light is blasting each blockage into a million tiny pieces. See these pieces swirl around your heart chakra, then dissolve into the green light. Feel your chest and shoulders become lighter as you release your burdens into the light.

Send it back to the universe

Now, send the healing light back up into the universe like a beam of light shooting out of your heart chakra into the sky. Surrender it. Be free of all that was holding you back.

To conclude your practice, fill your entire body with the white, cleansing light again, and sit with any new sensations that you may feel.

It is absolutely ok if this exercise doesn’t fully heal your heart chakra the first few times. Remember, it took a lifetime to build-up your blockages, so you can’t expect them to disappear instantaneously. Keep practicing.

5. Meditation and Chanting.

Heart Chakra Meditation: Woman sitting facing an open window with her eyes closed in meditation.
Photo by Jeff Finley on Unsplash

Practicing meditation has amazing health benefits, including:

  • calming the nerves
  • lowering blood pressure
  • strengthening the immune system
  • reducing pain and inflammation
  • reducing stress and anxiety
  • improving sleep
  • and so much more.

Find a meditation practice that you feel you can stick to and see how you can benefit in a short period of time.

While meditating, if you find it hard to fully clear your mind it is helpful to chant (either out loud or in your mind). Chanting some of the affirmations listed in #3 will work wonders.

Also, consider chanting the sound “yam” (yahm) as it can help to open yourself to unconditional love and compassion. Check out the Chanting Meditation video included below.

6. Yoga Poses for Opening the Heart.

Check out Yoga Journal for their wonderful list of chest opening poses.

In addition, check out this full heart-opening yoga practice with Brett Larkin:

7. Heart Opening Pranayama (Breathing Exercise)

8. Aromatherapy

While you are doing the above visualization, meditation, and physical exercises, you can switch on your essential oil diffuser and add one or a blend of the following essential oils:

  • Cypress
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Mandarin
  • Melissa
  • Neroli
  • Orange
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Tangerine
  • Ylang ylang
Before using any essential oils, it is always best to check for any contraindications with any existing conditions that you may have, pregnancy, allergies, or interactions with medications.

9. Herbal Teas

The best way to consume medicinal herbs is usually by making herbal teas.

Follow the link above to learn the best way to brew your tea using one or a blend of the following herbs:

  • Astragalus
  • Burdock root
  • Calendula
  • Chamomile
  • Clove
  • Damiana
  • Ginger
  • Hibiscus
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Nettles
  • Red clover

If you have a hard time coming around to herbal teas, you can always try these herbs in capsule form.

Before consuming any herbs, it is always best to check for any contraindications with any existing conditions that you may have, pregnancy, allergies, or interactions with medications.

10. Crystal Healing

Heart Chakra Healing Crystals
energymuse.com
Heart Chakra Healing Crystals Poster – Digital Download Available

Adding healing crystals to your meditation or visualization exercises is an excellent way to amplify your healing process. Try using the following crystals and check the link above to learn more about placement.

Don’t be daunted by complex crystal placements. Just using one crystal at a time will help you achieve amazing benefits.

You can choose any pink or green colored gemstones and crystals for healing the Anahata. The following are particularly helpful:

  • Fuchsite: brings powerful healing energies and encourages positivity, joyfulness, relaxation, and miracles.
  • Raw emerald: has the ability to go deeper than any other stone for heart chakra healing. It brings us deep into our past ancestral lines and agreements that have been made with our soul that we need to cut from all dimensions of time. This is the most important stone to have out of all the heart chakra crystals.
  •  Rhodonite: Holding this stone brings forgiveness, compassion and releases fear. It can help with relationship problems.
  • Rose quartz: opens your heart to all types of love, boosting your self-esteem, confidence, and emotions. It is one of the best crystals for self-love.
  • Chlorite phantom quartz: This green phantom crystal facilitates the release of self-limiting thoughts and energy blockages.
  • Shungite stones: neutralizes the energy that is brought up while healing the heart chakra. We want deep emotions and crying to come to the surface because that is the space in which we can heal. Shungite allows that space to stay safe and healing rather than become overwhelming.
  • Jade: excellent for healing feelings of guilt, and for extreme cases of defeatism. Green Jade is a crystal of love. It is supportive of new love and increases trustworthiness and fidelity. Furthermore, it also inspires love later in life.
  • Green Aventurine: comforts, harmonizes, protects the heart and can help attract love later in life. 
  • Green Calcite: brings emotional balance and knowledge of Divine Love. Additionally, green calcite helps to dissolve old energy patterns and beliefs that may be holding you back. Also strengthens immunity.

11. Practice Daily Gratitude

Heart Chakra Healing: Image of pink journal that says "Today I am grateful"

Rewire your brain for happiness by practicing daily gratitude.

12. Practice Empathy

Take time every day to practice empathy and compassion towards others. Force yourself to step out of your own shoes for a bit and imagine yourself in those of your loved ones, colleagues, and friends. The more you practice being empathetic towards others, the more naturally it will come to you.

13. Practice Forgiveness

This one may be a hard one for quite a few of you out there. Finding forgiveness for those who are generally unforgivable seems like an impossible feat.

But, here’s the thing. Just because you forgive someone, it does not mean that you have to accept their behavior and allow them to be a part of your life.

It is possible to forgive and let go. Completely let go of them, but forgive them of their transgressions against you, for your own sake.

Additionally, Cord-cutting exercises can be very helpful in situations such as these.

14. Practice Kindness

Hand holding small sign that says "Practice Kindness"
Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash

Simply put, choose kindness. Smile at the stranger walking past you. Let the old lady with one item in her basket check out before you. Compliment that lady you saw wearing the beautiful blouse.

A little kindness can go a long way. Furthermore, it usually comes right back to you. What you put out into the universe is what you will receive in return.

15. Stop Playing the Victim

Seriously. Stop.

Once you can learn to stop playing the victim, you will magically stop being the victim. This isn’t a good way to get attention, it literally just makes people angry with you for constantly playing the role of the martyr.

To be clear, don’t think for one minute that everyone around you can’t see what you are doing.

They see you.

You are only hurting yourself.

16. Establish Healthy Personal Boundaries

Undoubtedly, you know in your heart which toxic situations are causing you to be unbalanced. Once you identify what is upsetting the balance in your life, you can systematically release each one from your life.

Cutting yourself off from toxic relationships and situations is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of wisdom.

Set firm boundaries for what you will accept in your life.

17. Laugh more

Laughter soothes the soul. Find more ways to laugh more throughout your day. Even if that means watching more funny animal videos. There can never be too many of those.

Whatever makes you laugh, seek out more of that.

18. Add More Green to Your Surroundings

The color associated with the heart chakra is green. Green is associated with healing and soothes the nerves.

Try adding more green to your surroundings by:

Tree covered path
  • Going outside more. Walk in the forest. Lie down in the grass and stare at the leaves fluttering on the trees. Just being in nature is soothing for the soul.
Image of potted house plants
  • Start collecting house plants. If you can’t go outside, then bring the outside in.
Image of Dresser painted green
  • Add green to your home decor with accent pillows, candles, paintings, throw blankets, or even by painting furniture or the walls green.
Woman running through field wearing green dress.
  • Wear more green clothing and accessories.

19. Eat More of These Foods

Add more green foods to your diet, such as leafy greens and lettuces, brussels sprouts, broccoli, zucchini, kiwi, avocados, etc. Any green food is helpful when trying to heal the heart chakra.

Additionally, include more foods that are rich in vitamin C to help boost immunity.

Also, try having more homemade hot soups. Especially those with a healing broth base as they also help boost immunity.

20. Let the Music Sooth Your Soul

Woman dancing to up beat music
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Listen to upbeat music that makes you feel happy. Sing your heart out as it helps to get the energy flowing in your chest.

Lastly, have yourself a little dance party and dance away the frustration, sadness, anger, and resentment. This will get the endorphins flowing, which make you feel happy!

What other methods have you used to move past blockages in your heart chakra? Have any of these methods been successful for you? I would love to hear from you!

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