Emotional body language

Emotional body language

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

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 is the opposite of happiness and indicates a depressive state.

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


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 occurs when things occur that were not expected.

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


Happiness occurs when goals and needs are met.

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

Source: http://changingminds.org/techniques/body/


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