If you've ever taken a
yoga or meditation class, then you may have heard about the seven chakras. They’re energy centers within your body that can impact how you feel and behave. One such example? The heart chakra: it’s located, predictably, by your heart, and when it’s out of whack it can affect your love life.
chakras start at the crown of your head and travel down the body to the base of your spine, and are often described as "unblocked" or "blocked,” or “open” or “closed.” When your chakras are unblocked, you’re in balance and able to function your best, says Dani Schenone, a yoga teacher and holistic wellness specialist at wellness booking platform Mindbody. But when they’re blocked, you can experience physical and emotional changes until that balance is restored, she explains. In the case of your heart chakra, it’s associated with love and understanding when in equilibrium, says psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport. But things like stress and emotional pain — usually caused by bad memories, emotions, and/or overthinking — can close it up. The end result? It can make it difficult to form and sustain healthy relationships, she says.
Luckily, knowing the symptoms of a
blocked heart chakra can help you address it head-on — but it’s an ongoing process to keep it clear. "Do not think, however, that if you remove your blockage one time you are done," she tells Bustle. "There is no one-time fix: Clearing a blocked heart chakra, just like all other chakras, is an ongoing process." She recommends staying connected to yourself so you can spot any blockage and tackle it with therapeutic activities like journaling, yoga, meditation, and even talk therapy. To help you get started, experts share 15 signs your heart chakra is blocked along with what you can do about it. 1 You've Been Dwelling On A Past Relationship
Feeling stuck in the past and
pining for an old (and very over) relationship can be a sign of a blocked heart chakra, says Rappaport. But it is possible to let go and move on. "If your last relationship is really over, look at what didn’t work and what did work while you were together and use that information to move forward," she tells Bustle. "This can give you a better perspective in your search for a new, healthier relationship."
And the sooner you start doing so, the better. "The longer you hold onto a relationship that has no future, the more you will continue to keep your heart chakra blocked," she says. "
Letting go removes some blockage, lightens your heart, and can restore your hope and optimism." 2 You're Holding Onto Grudges
While it's normal to
hold a grudge for a while when you've truly been hurt, making a habit out of it can stop up your heart chakra in a pretty painful way. And the solution for heart chakra healing is to forgive and forget as best you can. "The more you hold on to pain and grudges, the more they can impact your future choices in partners," Rappaport tells Bustle. "You keep reinforcing the very thing you don’t want in your life. Holding on to pain keeps you from experiencing joy." 3 You're Experiencing Trust Issues
Even though it's easier said than done, the last thing you want to bring into a new relationship is old baggage and
trust issues. "A blocked heart chakra from a betrayal keeps you from trusting someone else," says Rappaport. "The fear of experiencing a betrayal again, and questioning if you can find someone you can trust to open your heart to, keeps bringing in the same energy you do not want."
That said, it’s possible to work on this. “If you obsess over not being able to trust someone, you will continue to have a blocked chakra and attract people who will also betray your trust,” she tells Bustle. Her advice? Break the cycle by
working on your trust issues and focusing on bringing more trustworthy people into your life. 4 You're Feeling Shy Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images 5 You’re Feeling Lonely
While it’s normal to
feel lonely from time to time, Schenone says that extreme loneliness is another sign that your heart chakra is blocked. You may even be intentionally isolating yourself to protect against emotional turmoil, even though you’d rather be forming connections. “Having experienced this myself, I describe this block like a stone wall standing between my reactive self and my open self,” she tells Bustle. “My open self wants to love, connect, and believe, but my reactive self wants to stay behind the wall, festering on bitterness and fear.”
If a past betrayal or heartbreak is the source of your
loneliness, breaking the cycle of self-isolation can help you restore balance in your heart chakra. “The fear of experiencing a betrayal again and questioning if you can find someone you can trust to open your heart to keeps bringing in the same energy you do not want,” explains Rappaport. 6 You've Been Keeping All Your Emotions Bottled Up
Keeping your emotions under wraps can definitely take a toll on your heart chakra and love life. Rappaport says pent-up feelings can even cause physical symptoms of anxiety, like
pressure in your chest. That's why finding a safe place to release your emotions is key. Cry in the shower, go for a hike, talk with a friend, get a massage, go to therapy to address the underlying cause of your blocked emotions... the list goes on. But finding a healthy emotional outlet can help you pinpoint the cause of your pain and begin healing. 7 You're Struggling With Commitment Issues Commitment issues can crop up for all sorts of reasons. You may be concerned that you’re making a mistake, wonder if there’s a better partner out there for you, question your current S.O., or fear commitment for other reasons, says Rappaport.
But if you want to start creating a happier relationship, it'll be important to push past the excuses. She suggests
journaling: "Write down all the reasons you want and don’t want to commit to your partner," she says. "From there you can start to unblock your heart chakra because you will have a better idea of what has caused your commitment issues or your inability to attract a partner who will commit to you." 8 You've Been Procrastinating When It Comes To Relationships Delmaine Donson/E+/Getty Images
Similar to commitment issues, a blocked heart chakra can prompt you to procrastinate when it comes to getting out there and meeting someone great. But if a relationship is something you want, you'll have to make a change and
put yourself out there — even if it feels overwhelming.
If meeting someone or improving your existing relationship is a priority, Rappaport suggests diving into the deep end: “Look at your priorities and schedule time to meet people, start dating — or spend more
quality time with your partner — and allow yourself more flexibility so you can experience and share love,” she says. 9 You're Holding Onto Past Hurts
Nothing blocks a heart chakra quite like past
experiences of abandonment. These can come about when a parental figure disappears from your life or after a partner cheats on you or leaves you unexpectedly. And it can make for a situation where you expect it to happen again.
But there's hope. "While you may not be able to erase your past, your future can be very bright, loving, and supportive," Rappaport says. "The best way to open a blocked heart chakra when you have
abandonment issues is to reach out to someone when you need emotional support." 10 You’re Defensive Defensiveness can be another signal that your heart chakra is blocked, according to Schenone — often as the result of previous emotional pain. And she says that constantly being on the defensive can cause you to feel bitter or irritable around others, which can again reinforce a cycle of closing yourself off to connection. Start by identifying the source of your behavior. Once you know the cause, you can get on a path to healing. 11 You’re Not As Empathetic 12 You're Always Feeling Anxious And Stressed LaylaBird/E+/Getty Images 13 You're Pushing Others Away
If you're unable to accept attention from others — even though you really want it — it could be due to a blocked heart chakra. And this usually has to do with a fear of
getting back out there after being hurt.
While totally understandable,
healing yourself so you can take the risk again is key. "No one can hurt you unless you let them," Rappaport says. "Instead of holding back because of your fear of being hurt, feel empowered and just make better choices. Lead with positivity instead of pain. Focus on healing in any way you can and commit to it." 14 You’re Scared Of Rejection
You may also be keeping people at arm’s length or shying away from potential connections because
you’re scared of rejection, which is another sign of a blocked heart chakra, says Schenone. Again, healing from past emotional upset can help you feel more comfortable putting yourself out there, despite the risk of rejection. 15 You Can't Stop Focusing On Others & Putting Yourself Last
"Sharing love and doing good deeds for others is one way for you to feel loved, needed, and appreciated," says Rappaport. However, it can become so time-consuming that you forget to focus on yourself and may even reach a point where others begin to expect you to help them
at your own expense.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries, she says. Relationships are a two-way street, so establishing and maintaining healthy limits can help you get what you need in a partnership and avoid overextending yourself. Experts: Davida Rappaport, psychic and spiritual counselor Dani Schenone, registered yoga teacher and holistic wellness specialist at Mindbody
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This article was originally published on
Feb. 1, 2018