The Body Language of Anxiety

Body language: Signs of Anxiety | What kind of body language does a nervous or anxious person display?
  1. Fidgeting

    A person who feels anxious will fidget often and will hardly maintain a calm and relaxed state. A person who doesn’t feel anxious or worried will usually keep the same posture for a prolonged period.

  2. Clumsiness

    An anxious person might not be able to think clearly, and as a result, might do many clumsy moves such as moving towards a place then realizing that he has to turn back all of a sudden.

  3. Biting finger nails

    Some people start biting their finger nails when they get very anxious. This usually happens when a person becomes anxious about something that will happen in the near future.

  4. Sweating more than usual

    People who feel anxious will usually sweat more than usual. The sweating can be very obvious when someone shakes hands with them, as their hands will feel slippery.

  5. Tapping hands and legs often

    A person who feels anxious might keep tapping his legs with his hands or tapping the floor with his legs.

  6. Not being able to speak fluently

    As anxiety passes a certain level, a person might not be able to speak fluently, might pause often and might fail to find the right words.

  7. Blinking more often

    When a person becomes anxious, he will start blinking more than usual. In such a case, the current blinking rate should be compared to the person’s normal blinking rate. (See What causes fast and rapid blinking?)

  8. Fast breathing rate

    When a person gets anxious, he starts breathing faster and faster. The breathing rate can be noticed from the movement of the shoulders as they go up and down.

  9. Knee jerk moves

    As the person’s body becomes stiffer, they are more likely to do some knee jerk moves such as dropping something.

  10. Pale face

    If anxiety exceeds a certain threshold, a person’s face might turn pale because blood is flowing to other parts of the body.

  11. Smiling to cover it up

    A person can try to smile or even laugh to fight back the anxiety they are feeling. If the person starts smiling often with the presence of the other signs, they might be covering up their anxiety with smiling. (See How to differentiate between a genuine smile and a non-genuine smile?)

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