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7 Ways To Open Your Heart

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Relationship Communication Skills

Have you ever met someone who you would describe as open-hearted ~ someone who walks, talks, listens, and breathes kindness and compassion?  How can you open your heart more fully?  Do you believe that your heart should be in service to your head?

“The heart has eyes which the brain knows nothing of.”  Charles H. Parkhurst (1842-1933)

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” Confucius (551-479 BC)


There are many ways to live more fully in your heart; however, as I was writing this blog the word “believe” came forward.

According to, the definition of believe is to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.

“Find the good. It is all around you.  Find it, showcase it and you’ll start believing in it.”  Jesse Owens (1913-1980)

7 Ways to Open Your Heart ~ BELIEVE.

1)      Breathe Deeply

As shared in “Breathing is Not an Option”, you are going to breathe all day anyway, so why not make the best of it.  Studies show, and eastern cultures have known for centuries, that proper breathing habits can increase calmness. And the great news is that you have personal control of your breathing habits, you can practice rain or shine, and it’s free! Breathe deeply, be calm, and share your best self with others.

2)     Exercise

As shared in “Take a Hike…Really!”, considering that the physical, mental and emotional parts of yourself are connected, which of these three variables may be easier for you to change right now?  Often, it is more straightforward to engage in physical activity than it is to change your feelings or your mental attitude.  It is easier to open your heart to yourself and others ~ to everything~ when you have a positive attitude.

3)     Listen

As share in “5 Tips on How to Listen Effectively” and “Silence is Golden…And Pauses are Too”, listen as if you might never have the opportunity to hear that person speak again, listen through the eyes and ears of kindness and compassion, and saying nothing is saying a lot. Silence says that you are open to being 100% present in the moment, open to learning, and open to truly understanding the other person’s ideas, feedback, input, thoughts and feelings; it says that you are open to the positive development of the relationship.

4)     Intentions

As shared in the Intention series, an intention is a clear and positive statement of an outcome you want to experience.  An intention is a goal, or vision, that guides your activities, thoughts, attitudes, and choices.   Hence, your intentions influence your actual experiences. Set an intention to open your heart.  “What is an Intention? Why are Intentions Important?”, “How to Create Powerful Intentions”, “The Secret Sauce of Intentions”.

5)     Essence of Everyone

As shared in “Seeing from Your Heart”, to see someone as a whole and perfect human being, as someone who is always doing their best, you must feel kindness, compassion, appreciation and reverence. To do that, you need to get out of your head and into your heart where these feelings reside.  You need to see from your heart ~ see the true essence of everyone.

6)     Volunteer

As shared in “The Volunteer Wellness  Effect”, the secret sauce, for me, is to serve as if no one is watching; to come and go without the need for anyone to know I was there. The higher your serving consciousness (in other words, the less your ego is involved), the greater the wellness effect for others…and for you.  Remember, every day is an opportunity to be of service such as a smile, a helping hand, words of encouragement, or a warm thought.

7)     Express Gratitude

As shared in “The Unique Power of Gratitude”, the secret sauce to feeling gratitude is to consciously, and specifically, acknowledge (and express) the source of your gratitude.  It is thinking, “I am grateful for the people that labored to build this road” versus “I am glad this road is here.”  You can be thankful for specific people, for people that you don’t know, for mother nature, or for what you believe is the source of your gratitude.

How Do You Know If It Is Working?

Do you feel more peaceful?  Are you less judgmental? Are your personal and professional relationships better?  Do you feel more joyful, acceptance, and/or trust? Is life getting easier?

Daily Habit

Are you willing to lead with your heart?  Do you believe you can? Are you willing to do something every day to open you heart more fully? You may want to do a 33-day process to consciously open your heart each day (“ 2 Essential Guidelines to Create a New Habit”).

“Believe.  Believe that you heart is your center. See, Feel, Think, Act, Listen, Walk, Talk, Touch, Smell, Taste, and Live from your Heart-Center. Believe in the wisdom of your heart. Be-Live.” Jo-Ann Downey

photo credit: helga weber

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