Reading Emotions: Boredom

We can see that Laura is not interested in the statement she is reading. Her gaze is unfocused, her eyes look blank. She’s zoning out.

But she is not just uninterested. She finds the idea on the page boring, which we see from her compressed lips and the downturned corners of her mouth.

Boredom is closely related to tedium, the repetition of something which holds little interest. We all want our minds to be stimulated. Sometimes things can be too predictable and we just want to move on to something else. She looks away, having had enough.

Signs to note

  • compressed mouth with downturned corners
  • blank eyes
  • blinking
  • unfocused gaze
  • looking away

By John Habershon

Reading Emotions: Awkwardness

Awkwardness is about feeling a little unsure, suddenly feeling self-conscious. We can see the signs in the way Evan moves his body and avoids eye contact.

He is talking about something quite personal, which makes him feel rather uncomfortable.

There is a defensiveness about his posture, resting his chin on his fist, partially covering his mouth, looking away and then rubbing his eye nervously.

Reading Emotions: Amusement

It is useful to think of emotions as releasing energy in the body. When something amuses us it produces a broad smile, the sound of laughter perhaps, but always movement in the body.

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

Here we can see that Jennifer at first tries to contain the signs of her amusement. She tries to keep the funny thought to herself as she listens and a slight tight-lipped smile forms on her lips.

Reading Emotions: Impatience and Discomfort

Guy is listening to an upsetting item on the radio, which is making him feel uncomfortable. He wants it to end, he’s impatient for it to end.

How do we recognise discomfort? When we feel emotionally discomforted it can be like a physical discomfort.

Reading Emotions: Glee

The dictionary defines glee as:

great delight, especially from one’s own good fortune’

Lindsay has just been asked about a household brand. By coincidence, the makers had only recently given her exceptionally good service, replacing an expensive part at no cost.

She is more than just pleased, she is delighted – and it shows in her body movement. Glee often involves an element of a really nice surprise.

Reading Emotions: Frustration

Often in life things don’t go the way we want them to, whether it’s people who don’t cooperate or just objects, like printers that don’t work just when we really need them to print off an urgent document. When these obstacles seem unreasonable, or illogical, after several tries to make it work . . . so frustrating! So how can we recognize frustration in another person?

Holly is talking about something she’s trying to do, but hasn’t succeeded with so far. We can see signs of pent up anger as she describes her frustrating experience. She shakes her head rapidly from side to side and her gaze shifts restlessly to her left, to John, and then away again. Her gaze at John is direct and her eyes widen to show her surprise.

Reading Emotions: Flustered

The dictionary definition for this emotional state is agitated, nervous or confused. You become this way by something that flusters you.

In this case Roy has been presented with a list of powerful words. He thinks he should see some connection between them, but he can’t. So he’s just not sure how to respond.

Reading Emotions: Excitement

How can we tell the difference between someone simply enjoying something, on the one hand, and getting excited by it, on the other?

The answer lies in the movement of the body.

 

The way Lisa smiles as she talks about this exciting topic, tells us that she is experiencing pleasure. But the way she can’t keep still shows her excitement.

Reading Emotions: Enjoyment

Take a look at Laura watching one of her favourite TV ads. How can we tell she’s enjoying it?

She’s smiling, not just in a quick and fleeting way, but with a sustained and relaxed smile on her lips.

When people are experiencing pleasure we see the eyes widen. Laura is looking at the screen with wide open eyes – she wants to take in as much information as she can.

She’s looking intently at the screen, something we can see from the focus in her eyes. This is not something which she is just mildly interested in. It has her full attention.

Reading Emotions: Embarrassment

Embarrassment is a powerful emotion. When we are in a social situation and feel ashamed, it’s not possible to control our reaction. After all, you can’t stop yourself from blushing, if that’s one of your responses to embarrassment.

In states of embarrassment people want to hide, become invisible, or, as the phrase goes, want to dig a hole and disappear in it. There is another phrase people use when talking about a moment of embarrassment: “I didn’t know where to look.”