So many of us are struggling right now to keep our hearts open and not armor off in self-protection and preservation. In difficult times I too want to close off and must consciously choose ways to support my heart so I can move through the world in a caring, kind, and compassionate way.
What does it feel like when your heart is closing or closed off? I notice that my body wants to physically curl around my heart space protectively - shoulders hunch and chest pulls in. Sometimes I feel a heaviness, sometimes numbness, and sometimes difficulty taking a deep breath. Others I know report that they don't feel emotions like joy or sadness or they may feel irritable.
There is nothing wrong with the heart closing off sometimes - it's protective and sometimes we need to protect ourselves. But allowing the heart to be armored up for too long can impact the way we live in ways that don't allow us to feel joy and peace in our days. There are ways we can support ourselves to open our heart when we notice it is closed. Here are a few of my favorite things (like Oprah!) that help me:
Lavender - I love lavender plants, essential oils, and candles. It's important to choose quality items with the least amount of impact on the Earth. For essential oils (essences), I use Wisdom of the Earth. I feel good about their ethical harvesting practices and no multi-level marketing with this company.
Rose Quartz - I like to have rose quartz stones around me on my desk at work, on the table next to my bed, and in my car, purse, or pocket. I feel that it helps support my heart and serves as a reminder to pause and take a deep breath into my heart space.
Rose Hydrolat - Rose is a powerful essence. It is also an expensive essence. A hydrolat is water that is used to distill the plants that are used to make an essence. The hydrolat contains the essence and rose hydrolat smells amazing! I also purchase this from Wisdom of the Earth. Online ordering directly from the site coming soon. In the meantime, you can Google search for someone who sells it or email me.
Meditations that focus on the heart - Find one that speaks to you on YouTube or a meditation app like Insight Timer.
Yoga with heart-opening poses - One of my teachers once said that if everyone laid with their backs over a yoga bolster for five minutes a day the world would be changed. If you don't have a bolster use a pillow, towel, or blanket for this heart-opening pose. Here is an example and a demonstration in the third pose in this video.
Some other ideas: Take a walk in nature, beautiful music (especially instrumentals), a tea that you love, and consider learning about cacao (cacao ceremony opportunity here).
Most importantly, find what resonates with you. What feels right for one person might not be right for another. Experiment with lots of different things to find what opens your heart!