Body language writing guide - Part 2

In this part I'll list how we use our body in body language and, in doing so, hopefully provide you with an easy list to reference whenever you need a little help. I've separated everything into broad emotions, rather than separating them by body part as I find this a far easier way of finding the right body language for the right emotion.

As I mentioned in part one it's best not to use body language that isn't very known by people in general, but I did include those lesser known ones in these lists. One reason is because different cultures have different common body language and another reason is because it could help with creating the more unique body language I mentioned near the end of part 1. So you'll have to be the judge when picking body language out of this list. Consider who your readers are and whether they'd be familiar with the body language you picked.
Note that these lists are by no means all-encompassing, but most are common enough and familiar enough to most people.

Admiration/Adoration/Love/Passion/Worship

Affectionate physical contact
Agreeing
Attentive
Big eyes, big pupils
Blushing/flushed look/glowing
Body pointed towards subject
Butterflies in stomach
Clearing throat
Closing the distance between you and the source
Cracking voice
Enlarged pupils, big eyes
Eye contact
Faster breathing
Faster heartbeat
Glowing face, blushing cheeks
Hands against cheeks, sometimes by resting on them
Higher body temperature
Increased body temperature
Lack of attention for anything else
Laughing, giggling
Leaning forward (closing distance)
Less blinking
Licking lips
Looking for excuses to talk/touch/interact
Mimic the other
More physical contact or a desire for it
Nervous behavior when around the other. Playing with jewelry, fiddling with clothes
Parted lips
Shakiness
Sighing
Smiling a lot
Smiling, even when there's nothing to smile at
Tingling feelings
Touching face
Touchy
Weak legs
Back to top

Agitation/Annoyance/Frustration/Irritation

Adjusting clothing, position of body, nearby objects
Audible breaths, sighing
Backtracking behavior
Biting bottom lip
Breathing faster
Clearing throat more often
Clenched fists
Clenched teeth
Constantly shifting your weight onto one side
Devaluing advice and compliments
Eyes darting all over the place
Feeling hot
Feeling light headed
Folded arms
Frowning
Groaning
Hesitant behavior and speech (uhms and ahs)
Inability to stay still
Increased body temperature
Increased heartbeat
Increased sensitivity
Inflated cheeks
Jerky movements
Jittery and flinching behavior
Light sweating
Not knowing what to do, where to go, how to act
Pacing back and forth
Pressed or pursed lips
Pulling collars, scarfs and other clothing around the neck
Pursed lips
Pushing face in hands
Pushing things and people away
Raised tone of voice
Reddening of face
Restlessness, restless leg, tapping fingers
Rubbing eyes and/or brow
Rubbing neck
Rushed movements, leading to clumsiness
Shaking head
Sharper tone of voice
Shifting attention
Shortness of breath
Sighing, sometimes on purpose and with exaggeration
Squinting or narrowed eyes
Staring down the source
Stiff jaw
Stiffer muscles
Tapping fingers impatiently
Tense muscles
Tightened face
Tightened fists
Unable to speak/articulate
Unable to stay still
Visible teeth
Wavering voice
Back to top

Agony/Anguish/Grief/Misery

Clenched fists and/or jaw
Crying, screaming, moaning, complaining
Exhausted appearance
Flinching behavior
Grinding teeth
Hugging own leg(s)
Inability to sleep, constantly moving or getting out of bed
Irritable, frustrated, irrational
Lack of an appetite
Restlessness behavior, pacing, unable to stand still
Rubbing leg(s) and/or arm(s)
Seeking safety in known places and/or objects and/or people
Sore muscles
Stress audible when talking
Sweating
Tense muscles
Tired
Back to top

Amazement/Awe/Perplexity/Wonder

Adrenaline spike
Big eyes, big pupils
Confirmative behavior (check if others experience the same)
Explorative behavior (trying to touch it, take a closer look)
Faster breathing or irregular breathing
Gasping
Hand covering mouth
Hand on chest
Hands on face/cheeks
Increased body temperature
Jerky movements
Laughing
Lost for words
Raised eyebrows
Shaking head
Slack jawed or parted lips
Smiling
Still, not moving
Voicing your emotions (OMG!), often by repeating the same thing over and over
Yelps, screams of joy, squeals
Back to top

Amusement/Delight/Enjoyment/Pleasure

Aching muscles from too much laughter
Choking or spewing if you laugh while eating or drinking
Gidyness when trying to contain oneself
Glowing or rosy face
Higher pitched voice
Holding onto people or objects for support
Inability to speak and/or stay upright
Increased body temperature
Laughing, smiling, smirking, grinning
Needing a break/people to stop making you laugh
Out of breath
Runny nose
Snorting when trying not to laugh
Sweating
Teary eyes
Uncontrollable laughter
Back to top

Anger/Fury/Rage/Hatred

Adrenaline rush
Aggressive behavior, bumping into people and objects
Claw-like hands
Clenched fists, cracking knuckles
Crossed arms
Crying out of anger
Curled (upper) lip
Dry mouth
Explosive behavior and movements
Fast paced walks
Flared nostrils
Flexed muscles
Glaring looks
Grinding teeth
Heavy, audible breaths
Ignoring personal space
Increased body temperature
Increased heartbeat
Increased heart rate
Jerky movements
Large arm movements
Large, heavy steps
Loosening (tight) clothes
Pulsing veins
Punching or kicking objects (or people)
Raised chin
Raised voice
Red face
Roughness in behavior
Screaming, yelling
Shakiness in breath and/or voice
Shaking fists
Shaking hands and/or legs
Shouting, swearing, groaning
Shoving, throwing and pushing objects (and sometimes people) away
Slamming doors, throwing objects
Stiff jaw
Sweating
Tense muscles
Tightened expression
Using unnecessary force
Visible teeth
Visible veins
Walking briskly
Wide eyes
Widened chest and arms to appear bigger
Back to top

Anticipation/Expectation/Impatience

Aimlessly fidgeting with clothing or objects
Biting lip
Checking and rechecking everything
Constantly moving in bed, unable to sleep
Folded arms
Frowning
Grinding teeth
Head tilted backwards
Increased body temperature
Increased heart rate
Jittery movements
Lost appetite, but playing with food
Pacing
Pinching bridge of nose
Placing hands on hips
Playing with jewelry or clothing
Pursed lips
Rhythmic movements like tapping fingers or rocking back and forth
Rubbing eyes
Shaking hands
Shaking head lightly
Shifting weight around
Sighing, breathing loudly
Stiff jaw
Stiffened posture
Sweaty palms
Tapping feet or bouncing on toes
Wetting lips
Back to top

Anxiety/Nervousness/Uncertainty/Worry

Arms wrapped around stomach
Big eyes, big pupils
Biting fingernails, chewing fingers/knuckles
Biting nails
Biting, pressing or pursed lips
Blinking more often
Bouncing legs, bouncing on toes
Cleaning fingernails
Clumsier than usual
Dry mouth, thirsty
Eyes darting all over the place, lack of eye contact
Feeling of discomfort and unable to feel comfortable
Fidgety movements
Folded arms
Folded arms only to unfold them again in a constant loop
Glancing all over the place
Higher pitched voice
Holding tightly onto something or somebody
Jittery movements
Less blinking
Looped behavior (constantly straightening clothing, checking a watch, opening a purse, etc.)
Nervous eating or lack of an appetite
Pacing back and forth
Playing with objects, especially clothing or jewelry
Pulling clothing around the neck and/or unbuttoning the top buttons
Quick breathing
Restless legs
Restlessness
Rubbing eyebrows and/or temples and/or face
Rubbing hands and/or arms
Scratching (arms)
Scratching and/or pulling own hair
Scratching back of neck or hair
Shaking head
Short and quick breaths
Squeezed eyebrows
Sweating
Tapping feet and/or fingers
Touching face often
Trembling hands
Unable to keep seated or standing
Unable to stay still, rhythmic movements (tapping fingers, rocking back and forth)
Back to top

Apathy/Disinterest/Indifference/Nonchalance

Easily distracted
Half closed eyes
Hands in pockets or dangling at your side
Monotone voice
Relaxed posture
Relaxed shoulders
Seemingly lack of energy
Slouched posture, leaning back or against something
Staring expressionless
Yawning
Back to top

Appreciation/Gratefulness/Gratitude

Big, soft eyes
Bowing (lightly)
Covering mouth with hands
Eye contact
Hand on chest
More physical contact
Putting fingers on lips
Relaxed
Showing affection
Smiling
Teary eyes, tears of joy
Back to top

Bewilderment/Confusion

Biting lips
Frowning
Lots of blinking
Lots of uhms and uhs
Parted lips, sometimes as if to speak without actually doing so
Pursed or pressed lips
Rubbing chin, forehead, temples, cheeks
Rubbing eyes, eyebrows and/or brow
Shaking head lightly
Squeezed eyebrows
Squinting
Staring into nothing
Tilted head
Touching mouth
Back to top

Boldness/Confidence/Poise

Arms swinging more while walking
Body taking up space (legs apart, arms resting wide)
Chest pushed forward
Drawing attention through speech, clothing and/or posture
General openness, increased physical contact
Keeping eye contact
Raised chin
Relaxed
Relaxed posture, leaning in chairs or against walls
Shoulders pulled backwards
Smiling, smirking, grinning
Stronger handshake and hugs
Walking with wider paces
Back to top

Calm/Composed/Peacefulness/Serene

Closed, gentle eyes
Gentle demeanor
Humming, singing, whistling
Leaning back or against something
Light walk
Looking around, taking in the world
Relaxed
Satisfied sighs or breaths
Satisfied stretches
Smiling, soft expression
Taking in the moment
Back to top

Conflicted/Disturbed

Blinking more often
Contradicting gestures, like shaking your head while smiling (reluctantly)
Deep breaths/sighs
Frowning
Hesitant behavior, pausing mid movements and stopping or changing direction
Inflating cheeks
Lowered chin
No appetite
Pacing and inability to stay still
Pressed or pursed lips
Running hand through hair
Scratching cheek and/or head
Scratching or rubbing the back of the neck or ear
Thinking more, sometimes while touching forehead
Wrinkled nose
Back to top

Contempt/Disdain/Distaste

Dismissive waves
Folded arms
Frowning
Ignoring the source
Narrowed eyes
Pressed or pursed lips
Rolling eyes or glancing upwards
Shaking head lightly
Snorting
Stiff jaw
Tilted head, usually away from the source
Turning body away from the source
Wrinkled nose
Back to top

Crushed/Defeated/Surrendered


Avoiding eye contact
Dropping to the floor in the fetal position
Dull, expressionless face
Hanging shoulders
Hugging own legs
Hunched over posture
Lack of appetite
Lackluster behavior and movements
Lip and/or chin tremors, usually when on the verge of tears
Looking down
Lowered chin, hanging head
Monotone voice
Relaxed arms
Resting head in hand(s)
Saggy posture
Shaking head
Shuffling while walking
Sighing
Staring at (seemingly) nothing
Teary eyes, crying or trying not to
Tired
Trembling chin and/or lips
Trembling or softer voice
Back to top

Curious/Interested

Closing distance by leaning forward slightly, kneeling or bending forwards
Narrowed eyes focused on the subject
Parted lips
Raised body/chest
Raised eyebrow(s)
Slight smile
Softer tone of voice
Tilted head
Tilting head to listen closely
Turning body towards the source
Back to top

Denial/Rejection

Backing away from source
Crossing arms (like an X) while talking
Dry mouth
Feeling hot
Folded arms
Higher pitched voice and often speaking faster
Increasing distance between you and source
Lump in throat
Raised eyebrows
Raised hand(s), palm(s) often towards source
Shaking head
Sweating
Turning body away from source
Wider eyes
Back to top

Depression/Despair

Crying
Exhausted or forlorn appearance
Lack of motivation in movements, laying down
Looking at the floor
Lowered chin
Messy hair, lack of hygiene
Non-responsive behavior
Overeating or lack of appetite
Resting head in hand(s)
Saggy posture
Staring at hands or object in hands
Tired or expressionless eyes
Too much or too little sleep
Back to top

Desire/Fascination/Longing/Yearning

Blushing
Breathlessness
Closing distance by leaning forward or moving closer
Eye contact
Increase physical contact with source
Increased heartbeat
Less inhibited
Lowered tone of voice
Need to touch subject
Parted lips
Pushing chest forward
Quick breaths
Raised chin
Relaxed muscles
Smiling
Stroking own arm or leg
Swallowing more often
Touching lips
Turning body towards source
Weak knees
Wetting/licking lips
Back to top

Desperation/Hopelessness/Misery

Bent over posture
Biting lips
Choking up when talking
Darting eyes
Dragging nails along your face
Dry mouth
Hugging yourself
Inability to sleep
Increased heartbeat
Jerky movements
Lack of appetite
Pacing back and forth
Pulling hair
Shaking
Shaking head lightly
Sweating
Tense muscles
Watery eyes
Back to top

Determination/Persistence/Tenacity

Calm breathing
Chest pushed forward
Chin lowered slightly
Eye contact
Fast paced movements
Furrowed brows
Increased heartbeat
Lower tone of voice
Pressed lips
Pushed back shoulders
Stiff jaw
Strong and/or wide stances/posture
Tense muscles
Tightened fists
Back to top

Devastated/Overpowered/Overwhelmed

Breathing heavier, hyperventilating
Clumsier than usual
Covering ears with your hands and closing your eyes
Difficulty breathing
Dropping to the floor, possibly in the fetal position
Hanging shoulders
Hugging or a desire for hugs
Hugging own legs and resting head on knees
Hunched posture
Lack of appetite
Loosening tight clothing
Rocking back and forth
Rubbing forehead
Rubbing temples with or without closed eyes
Rubbing your own arm
Shaking head
Shaking, trembling
Staring at nothing
Teary eyes, crying or trying not to
Whimpering, sobbing, crying, moaning
Back to top

Discouraged/Disappointed/Letdown

Avoiding or breaking eye contact
Bent over posture
Face pressed in hands
Grimaced expression
Hands covering temples
Hanging shoulders
Holding/rubbing own arm(s)
Lowered head
Parted lips
Pressed lips
Shaking head
Shuffling
Sighing
Back to top

Disbelief/Stupefaction/Perplexity

Blinking rapidly
Covering mouth with hand
Eyebrow(s) raised
Gasping
Hands on head
Hanging shoulders, dangling hands
Pale face
Parted lips
Shaking head lightly
Staring at subject or at nothing in particular
Wide eyes
Back to top

Disgust/Repulsion/Revulsion

Covering nose and mouth with hand
Curled lip
Desire to spit or vomit
Feeling uncomfortable in own clothing
Grimaced expression
Putting hands on stomach or wrapping arms around it
Raising hands between you and the source as a shield
Squeezed eyebrows
Staying at a distance
Turning body/face away from the source
Wrinkled nose
Back to top

Doubt/Mistrust/Skepticism/Suspicion

Biting fingernails
Clearing throat
Concerned expression
Folded arms
Frowning
Keeping a distance
Licking, biting and/or sucking own lips
Looking down and/or avoiding eye contact
Narrowed eyes
Pointing finger
Pressed lips
Pushing face into hands, massaging face
Raised eyebrow
Restlessness
Rubbing back of the neck
Rubbing eyes
Scratching head and/or running hand through hair
Shaking head lightly
Staring, but potentially also avoiding eye contact
Tilted head
Tilting head and/or hands from side to side to weigh options
Back to top

Dread/Fear/Panic

Adrenaline rush
Arms wrapped around stomach
Avoiding eye contact
Biting nails, scratching skin
Blinking more
Body tremors
Bulging eyes
Chills
Cold sweats
Flared nostrils
Flinching behavior
Hanging shoulders
Holding breath
Holding onto something or someone
Hugging own legs
Hugging yourself tight, making yourself smaller
Hugging yourself with hands on your shoulders
Hyperventilating
Increased heartbeat
Jerky movements
Looking at the ground
Loose bladder
Lowered chin
Moving without thinking (running, hiding, fighting)
Pale face
Playing with jewelry or ends of clothing
Raised body hairs, goosebumps
Rapid breathing
Saggy posture
Screaming, crying or trying not to do either
Shaking hands
Shaking heavily
Tightened shoulders
Trembling chin, hands, knees
Unable to move
Whispering
Back to top

Eagerness/Enthusiasm/Keenness

Bouncing leg(s)
Bouncing on your toes
Bright, large eyes
Chest forward, shoulders back
Excited energy
Eye contact
Fast paced walking
Leaning forward
Less blinking
Raised chin
Smiling
Unable to sit still or sitting on the edge of your chair
Back to top

Ecstasy/Elation/Euphoria/Excitement

Adrenaline rush
Big, bright eyes
Bouncing legs, bouncing on toes and just being unable to sit still
Chest pushed forward
Dry mouth
Eye contact
Fact paced walking
Feeling energized and warm
Humming, speaking with a louder voice, singing
Increased heartbeat
Jumping, dancing, running, unable to stay still
Laughing
Less inhibitions
Raised arms
Showing affection, just being touchy
Smiling, grinning, laughing, giggling
Tears of joy
Thrusting fists
Trying to share the excitement
Back to top

Embarrassment/Humiliation/Shame

Arms wrapped around own waist
Bent over posture
Blushing heavily
Fast paced walk to get away
Faster and/or irregular breathing
Fiddling with jewelry, pockets or other clothing bits
Fingers on lips
Hands covering face
Hanging shoulders
Hiding behind own hair and/or hat
Holding own arm(s)
Increased heartbeat
Looking away, avoiding eye contact
Lowered chin
Red ears
Shaking
Shielding yourself from source by raising arms, holding an object, turning away and so on
Shuffling in place or while walking
Slouching
Stuttering and/or weaker voice
Swallowing
Sweating
Trembling lips and/or chin
Watery eyes, crying or trying not to
Weak knees
Back to top

Envy/Jealousy/Resentment

Biting or sucking bottom lip
Clenched fists
Clenched teeth
Closing distance between you and object
Flared nostrils
Folded arms
Increased body temperature
Kicking or punching objects
Lightly squeezed eyes
Mimic the body language of the source
Pinched mouth, pursed lips
Pressed or pursed lips
Pursed or pressed lips
Raised chin
Shaky hands or clenched fists
Sneering, murmuring
Staring, (lightly) squinted eyes
Stern expression
Stiff jaw
Sweaty palms
Tense muscles
Tightened muscles
Turning body away from source
Visible teeth
Back to top

Guilt/Regret/Remorse

Anxious, paranoid
Avoiding eye contact, turning away from the source of guilt
Avoiding the source
Bent over posture
Blushing
Clearing throat
Grimaced expression
Hands covering face
Hanging shoulders
Hiding behind anything, clothing, own hair, objects, people
Hugging own stomach or chest
Inability to sleep, moving in bed too much, unable to get comfortable
Looking down at the floor or your own feet
Loss of appetite
Lowered chin
Pale face
Pressed lips, biting lips
Pulling the clothing around the neck (collar, scarf, etc.)
Quiet
Quivering lips, chin and/or hands
Resting head in hands
Saggy posture
Shaking head lightly
Sighing
Staring at the floor or your own feet
Stroking own neck and/or hair
Sweating
Trembling voice
Watery eyes, crying or trying not to
Back to top

Happiness/Pleasure/Well-Being

Big, bright eyes
Glowing appearance
Humming, singing, whistling, laughing, giggling
Lighter/softer voice
More physical contact with others
Nodding during conversations
Raised chin
Relaxed
Smiling
Swinging arms more while walking
Tapping fingers or feet to music
Walking lighter and/or faster
Wider stance/posture
Back to top

Hesitation/Reluctance/Unwillingness

Avoiding eye contact
Biting lips
Biting nails
Darting eyes
Hesitant movements
Pinching the bridge of the nose
Pressed lips
Rubbing or squeezing eyes
Shaking hands and/or legs
Shaking head
Swallowing
Tense facial expression
Tense muscles
Trying to keep distance between you and source
Turning body away from source
Using hands a shield, crossed arms, raised palms
Wetting
Back to top

Hurt/Pain/Suffering

Biting lips
Clenching fists around anything nearby (clothing, sheets, other people)
Furrowed brows
Grimaced expression
Hugging or otherwise tightly holding where it hurts physically
Hugging own stomach
Lowered head
Shouting, groaning, moaning
Trembling lips and/or chin
Watery eyes, crying
Weak muscles
Wide eyes or squeezed shut
Wrinkled nose
Back to top

Insecurity/Self-Doubt

Avoiding and/or breaking eye contact
Barely smiling
Biting bottom lip
Biting nails
Blushing
Dry throat, clearing throat
Heat flashes
Hiding behind other people, staying away from group centers
Hiding behind your own hair and/or hat and/or clothing
Hiding hands behind back or in pockets
Hiding underneath or behind something (blanket, book, wall, etc.)
Holding your own elbow(s)
Hugging yourself
Increased heartbeat
Keeping knees and legs together
Keeping your distance
Looking at the ground
Lowered chin
Playing with jewelry or clothing bits
Straightening clothing, fixing hair, checking own reflection whenever possible
Stroking own arm, legs or hair to comfort yourself
Sweating
Tense muscles
Back to top

Heartache/Loneliness

Expressionless or saddened face
Hanging shoulders
Hugging yourself
Monotone voice
Overeating or a lack of appetite
Saggy posture
Sighing
Staring at an object or at nothing in particular
Stroking own arm, leg or hair
Teary eyes, crying or trying not to
Tired
Back to top

Melancholy/Sadness/Sorrow

Covering face with hands
Feeling cold
Hanging shoulders
Holding an object or person for comfort
Hugging own legs, resting head on knees
Hugging yourself
Lack of energy
Lowered chin, hanging head
Monotone voice
Red eyes
Runny nose
Saggy posture
Shuffling walk
Slouching
Sobbing, moaning, wailing
Staring at nothing
Trembling hands, chin, lips
Trembling voice
Watery eyes, crying or trying not to
Back to top

Pride/Self-Confidence

Animated movements
Deep breath
Eye contact
Forward chest
Grinning, smiling, smirking
Laughing
Legs spread wide
Posing in a way that draws attention
Raised chin
Shoulders backwards
Standing tall
Twinkling eyes
Back to top

Reassurance/Relief/Repose


Covering mouth with hands
Crying, laughing, emotional outbursts
Deep sighs
Dropping to the floor, on bed, in a chair, against somebody, etc.
Gasping
Hands on chest
Head tilted backwards
Parted lips, feint smile
Shaking
Trembling hands, chin and lips
Weak and/or tired muscles
Weak legs and knees
Back to top

Surprise/Shock


Big eyes, big pupils
Breathless
Double take
Gasping, yelping, screaming, squealing
Hand(s) on chest
Hand(s) on mouth
Increased heartbeat
Laughing, crying, bursts of emotion
Open mouth
Raised eyebrows
Staring
Trembling legs, hands, chin
Back to top

Copyright© 2017 RollForFantasy.com

Privacy