Body Language

 

body language

We continue with ‘show don’t tell‘ of emotions like we did in the previous post, but this time we concentrate more on body language. Don’t tell your readers that your character is shy or nervous or jealous, but show them!
Below you find a list of emotions and, next to it, the possible body language that goes with it.


anticipation grin – lick lips – rub hands together – unable to sit still

awe fixed gaze – slack-jawed – unable to move

amusement clap hands – shake with laughter – slap thighs – throw head back –

anger/aggression bare teeth – clench fists – clench jaw – flushed face – jutting chin – lower eyebrows – point finger – shake fist – slam fist on surface – squint eyes – stab finger – throbbing veins in neck – tight lipped smile

annoyance exasperated sighs – narrow eyes – press lips together – roll eyes

anxiety bite lip – chew on a pencil – clammy palms – darting eyes – fidget – high-pithed laughter – hold breath – hunched posture – pace – play with hair – quickened breathing – stutter – swallow constantly -sweat – twist a ring

attentiveness furrowed brow – lean forward – mimic body language – sit up – take notes

boredom avoid eye contact – doodle – fidget – slouch – tap feet – twirl a pen – yawn

confidence clasp arms behind body – lift head – make firm and precise movements – push chest out – stand tall

confusion narrow eyes – furrowed brow – shrug – tilt head

contempt dismissive – hand-waving – lift chin – purse lips – sneer – stretch or turn away

cynical half-smile – press lips with a slight frown – roll eyes – shake head – twist lips

deception cover/touch mouth – hesitation in speech – lick lips- long blinks – look down – one sided shoulder shrug – scratch nose or ear – shifty eye contact – sudden change in demeanour – unwarranted smiles or laughter

defensive arms out with palms forward – cross arms or legs – hands in pockets – place anything in front of body

desire arch – cross or uncross legs – dilated pupils – flirtatious behaviour – glance over shoulder – look up through lashes – make eye contact – straighten spine – stretch – touch hair or clothing – wink

disbelief crease brow – crinkle nose – narrow eyed (sceptical) – twist mouth – wide-eyed (shock)

disgust cover nose – crinkle nose – curled lip – flinch – gag – protect body by turning shoulder (cold shoulder) – squint eyes shut – turn away

displeasure cross arms – fake smile – frown – pout

distress adjust cuffs – beat walls – clasp hands over head – huddle in a corner – men hold hands together in front of crotch – rub nape of neck – run hands through hair – shallow rapid breathing – wide eyes – wring hands

embarrassment blink back tears – blush – bow head – cover face with hands – look down and away – stammer – trouble maintaining eye contact

fatigue close eyes – grit teeth – move slowly – nod off and jerk awake – rub eyes – slouch – stare into space – yawn/stretch

fear freeze – hunch shoulders – mouth open – rock from side to side – shake – shaking hands – shrink back – tremble – widen eyes – wrap arms around self

frustration aggressively run hands through hair – clasp wrist in opposite hand or behind back – massage temples – shake head – show white knuckles

grief cover face or head with arms or  pillow – curl into foetal position – difficulty swallowing – face contorts – shake with sobs – slump – stare – tremble – turn away

happiness crinkle eyes and nose – dance – giggle – hug – hum a tune – jump – laugh – smile – spin loosely – swing arms

honesty look up – maintain eye contact – open arms – palms up – smile with eyes and mouth

impatience check the clock – increase pitch in voice – look away – nod quickly – sigh – tap feet – tap fingers

jealousy crossed arms – narrow eyes – sour expression – tight lips

overwhelmed eyes wide and staring into space – hands grip onto something – splayed fingers cover eyes with one hand – palms to forehead

passion/eagerness double-handed handshake – feet pointed inwards – hand on heart – lean forward – nod – steady eye contact and raised eyebrows – wide eyes

playfulness nudge – smile – tickle – waggle eyebrows – wink

pleasure arch neck or back – eyes wide or closed – flush – languorous movements – part lips slightly – quick breath and pulse – stretch – tilt head back

possessiveness handshake with arm clasp – place arms on or around someone’s shoulders/neck/waist – place hands on wall near them – run a knuckle down someone’s cheek – stand in personal space with body positioned towards person – stare others down if they get to close

pride/dominance chest out – chin up – hands on hips – hard handshake – lean back with hands behind head and feet up – shoulders back – straddle chair – unblinking focused eye contact

reluctance cross arms – drag feet – make fists – pinch nose – put hands over ears

sadness bottom lip jutting out – bowed – cry – drag feet – droopy body – hesitating movements – lip quivers – shake – sob – wrap arms around self

secretiveness cover face – hands in pocket – look away – look down – tight-lipped smile

shame bow head – bury face in hands – look down and away – slump shoulders – straight mouth

shock freeze and stare with wide eyes and raised eyebrows – gasp – hands over mouth – mouth open – smack palms against forehead – step back

shyness avoid eye contact – back away if others come too close – bend head – blush – fold arms – ‘hug’ walls – keep distance from others

smugness enigmatic smile – one raised eyebrow – raise eyebrows – slight close-lipped smile – slightly tucked chin – steeple fingers

suspicion blow out cheeks – frown – glance sideways – narrow eyes – raise eyebrow – rub eyes – shake head – tighten lips

throughtfulness close eyes – furrow brow – lean back and look up – narrow eyes – pinch nose – rest chin on hand – steeple fingers – stroke a real or imaginary beard – tilt head and press lips together – tug ear

triumph clench hands above head – jump – pump fist in air – roar – tilt head back and yell – whoop

Image source
Source 1

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