Reading Emotions: Anxiousness

Anxiousness is one of those emotional states we see in the face; but perhaps most of all we see it in the movements of the body.

(Note: there is purposely no audio with the above video)

When we become anxious we lose some control over our actions. Carrie’s hands are raised, partially coverng her face, as her fingers scratch nervously. Her gaze is unfocused and shifts direction from side to side and then upwards.

Feeling anxious or distressed is shown in the mouth – and here Carrie’s mouth is stretched and then becomes slack and turned down. She’s at a loss as to how to answer a difficult question, as she gives way to negative thoughts.

When someone is in the grips of anxiety they temporarily go into an emotional ‘bubble,’ losing awareness of the person they are having a discussion with.

Signs to note

  • partially covering her face with her hands
  • unfocused gaze
  • shifting direction of gaze from left to right, then up
  • scratching her hand
  • mouth stretched, then drooping down

By John Habershon

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