The Ultimate Body Language Guide

Emotional Body Language Guide

With careful observation, emotions May be detected from non-verbal cues. Remember that these are indicators, not guarantees. Contextual signs may also be used, in particular what is being said to the person or what else is happening around them.

Anger

Anger occurs when achievement of goals are frustrated.

  • Neck and/or face is red or flushed.
  • Baring of teeth and snarling.
  • Clenched fists.
  • Leaning forward and invasion of body space.
  • Other aggressive body language.
  • Use of power body language.

Fear, anxiety and nervousness

Fear occurs when basic needs are threatened. There are many levels of fear, from mild anxiety to blind terror. The many bodily changes caused by fear make it easy to detect.

  • A ‘cold sweat’.
  • Pale face.
  • Dry mouth, which may be indicated by licking lips, drinking water, rubbing throat.
  • Not looking at the other person.
  • Damp eyes.
  • Trembling lip.
  • Varying speech tone.
  • Speech errors.
  • Voice tremors.
  • Visible high pulse (noticeable on the neck or movement of crossed leg.
  • Sweating.
  • Tension in muscles: clenched hands or arms, elbows drawn in to the side, jerky movements, legs wrapped around things.
  • Gasping and holding breath.
  • Fidgeting.
  • Defensive body language, including crossed arms and legs and generally drawing in of limbs.
  • Ready body language (for fight-or-flight)
  • Other symptoms of stress

Sadness

Sadness is the opposite of happiness and indicates a depressive state.

  • Drooping of the body.
  • Trembling lip.
  • Flat speech tone.
  • Tears.

Embarrassment

Embarrassment may be caused by guilt or transgression of values.

  • Neck and/ or face is red or flushed.
  • Looking down or away from others. Not looking them in the eye.
  • Grimacing, false smile, changing the topic or otherwise trying to cover up the embarrassment.

Surprise

Surprise occurs when things occur that were not expected.

  • Raised eyebrows.
  • Widening of eyes.
  • Open mouth.
  • Sudden backward movement.

Happiness

Happiness occurs when goals and needs are met.

  • General relaxation of muscles.
  • Smiling (including eyes).
  • Open body language

Interested in learning everything there is to know about body language? Check out this complete body language guide.

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