Scared Body Language (Facial Expressions Of Fear)

Scared Body Language (Facial Expressions Of Fear)

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When we are scared, our posture changes. We tend to slouch and our body language becomes tense. Our expression changes, too. We look insecure and nervous.

The most simple way to think about this is when we are fearful or scared, we may try to make ourselves appear smaller by hunching our shoulders, crossing our arms, or tucking our chin.

There are many nonverbal cues we use automatically when we come scared below we will look at 15 of the most common body language cues when we become scared. First up we need to understand what body language is and why it’s so important.

What is body language?

Body language is a type of nonverbal communication in which physical behaviors, such as facial expressions, gestures, and posture, are used to convey messages. This can also include cues such as eye contact, touch, and tone of voice. Facial expressions are a key part of body language and can convey a wide range of emotions. Gestures are another important form of body language and can be used to communicate a variety of messages. Posture can also convey a lot of information and is an important part of body language. Nonverbal communication is often thought of as body language, but it also includes other cues such as eye contact, touch, and tone of voice.

Why is understanding body language important?

Understanding body language can be important in a number of situations, such as when you’re trying to read someone’s emotions when you’re trying to gauge whether or not someone is interested in what you’re saying, or when you’re trying to determine the tone of a conversation or even if they are scared.

There are a few things to keep in mind when reading body language cues. First, it’s important to remember that people often use a combination of verbal and nonverbal cues to communicate their message, so you should never rely on one cue alone. Second, it’s also important to be aware that some cues can be easily misinterpreted. For example, someone who is crossing their arms may appear to be closed off or uninterested when in reality they’re just cold or uncomfortable.

Finally, it’s important to remember to read the context first to give you clues into what is going on around a person you are analyzing. If you would like to learn more about how to read body language then you have to check out How To Read Body Language & Nonverbal Cues (The Correct Way) for a more in-depth understanding.

Next up we will take a look at 15 of the most common signs that someone is scared.

15 Body Language Cues When Someone Is Scared.

When someone is scared, they may give off certain body language cues. Here are 15 of them:

  1. Hiding the face.
  2. Hunching the shoulders.
  3. Curling up in a ball.
  4. Trembling.
  5. Sweating.
  6. Pacing.
  7. Chewing on nails.
  8. Darting eyes.
  9. Avoiding eye contact.
  10. Pupils dilated.
  11. Sweaty palms.
  12. Clenched fists.
  13. Shallow breathing.
  14. Increased heart rate.
  15. Dry mouth.

Hiding the face.

Hiding the face is a scared body language. When people are scared, they often try to hide their faces, especially their eyes. This is because the eyes can give away a lot of information about what someone is feeling. When someone is scared, their eyes may look wide and frightened, or they may blink a lot.

 Hunching the shoulders.

Hunching the shoulders is a common body language cue that signals fear or anxiety. When someone is feeling scared, they may instinctively hunch their shoulders in an attempt to make themselves appear smaller and less noticeable. This nonverbal behavior can be easily spotted in others and may be accompanied by other fear cues such as averted eye contact, tense muscles, and shallow breathing.

 Curling up in a ball.

When people feel scared, they often curl up into a ball. This is a natural defensive reflex that helps protect vital organs. It also makes the person look smaller and less threatening to whatever is causing the fear. This body language is usually accompanied by other signs of fear, such as trembling, sweating, and wide eyes.

Trembling Scared Body Language what does it look like?

Trembling is a scared body language that looks like uncontrolled shaking. This usually happens when someone is extremely frightened or nervous.


When we sweat, our body is trying to cool itself down. This happens when we are hot when we are exercising, or when we are under stress. When we are scared, our body releases a hormone called adrenaline. This makes our heart rate go up and our bodies sweat more. Sometimes called fight or flight response.


Pacing scared body language looks like someone who is trying to keep themselves calm by moving around. They might pace back and forth, or they might just move their body a lot. This is because they are trying to release some of the tension they are feeling.

Nail Biting.

When someone is scared, their body language will often betray them. They may start to sweat, their heart rate will increase, and they may start to fidget or fiddle with their clothing. Some people also have a tendency to chew on their nails when they’re scared, which can be a tell-tale sign that something is wrong.

Darting eyes.

When someone is scared, their eyes tend to dart around as they try to take in everything around them. Their body language may be tense and they may look like they are ready to run away at any moment.

Avoiding eye.

When someone is scared, they may avoid making eye contact. Their body language may be tense and they may appear ready to flee. You have to think in clusters of information in order to fulling understand what is going on with them.

Pupils dilated.

When someone is scared, their pupils often dilate. This is because the body is preparing for a fight-or-flight response, and more light is needed to see potential threats. Other signs of fear may include trembling, sweating, and an increased heart rate.

Sweaty palms.

Sweaty palms and scared body language often go hand-in-hand. When someone is scared, their palms may sweat as a result of the fight-or-flight response. This response is a natural reaction that occurs when we feel threatened or anxious. The body releases adrenaline and other hormones, which can cause sweating. In addition to sweaty palms, other signs of scared body language may include trembling, wide eyes, and an increased heart rate.

Clenched fists.

When someone is scared, they may clench their fists as a way to defend themselves. This is a natural reaction as they may need to defend themselves within the moment. The person may also have other signs of fear such as a racing heart, sweating, and shaking. This body language can be a giveaway that someone is feeling scared or threatened.

Shallow breathing.

Shallow breathing and scared body language often go hand-in-hand. When someone is scared, their body instinctively responds by taking shallow breaths in an attempt to calm down. This usually results in a visible change in body language, as the person may hunch over or curl up into a protective position.

 Increased heart rate.

When we are scared, our body language often betrays us. Our heart rate increases, and we may start to sweat or shake. We might try to make ourselves small, or hide behind someone else. Our eyes might widen, and we might have trouble breathing. All of these physical reactions are natural responses to fear and can give us away if we’re not careful.

Dry mouth.

When we are scared our mouths will dry up you can sometimes hear this in Ted Talks as people become nervous when talking. This is because our body is preparing for a fight or flight response and all the blood is being taken up to defend ourselves.

What does scared body language look like?

When we are scared, our posture changes. We tend to slouch and our body language becomes tense. Our expression changes, too. We look insecure and nervous. You will notice a shift from their natural body language to some of the above non-verbals, it’s important to remember at this point there are no absolutes in body language.

Signs of Nervousness & Nervousness Body Language

  • Nervousness is often exhibited through body language. People who are nervous may shift their weight, fidget, or avoid eye contact. They may also start to perspire, have a dry mouth, or feel dizzy. Nervousness can be caused by many things, such as public speaking or a fear of the unknown. It is often a cue that something is about to happen that the person does not feel comfortable with. Here is a post we wrote that may interest you Smile When Nervous (Body Language)

How to Overcome Nervousness

Nervousness can be defined as the state of being anxious or fearful. It is a normal emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. While it is impossible to completely eliminate nervousness, there are several things you can do to reduce its effects.

One way to overcome nervousness is to control your facial expressions and body language. The way you hold your body and the expressions on your face can cue others into how you’re feeling. If you withhold your body language and keep a neutral expression, it will be harder for others to read your nerves.

Finally, one of the best ways to overcome nervousness is to diagnose the source of your anxiety. Once you know what is causing your anxiety, you can take steps to address the problem directly. This may involve seeking professional help or making lifestyle changes. By understanding and addressing the source of your anxiety, you can significantly reduce its effects.

Final Thoughts.

When it comes to understanding scared body language there are many cues we can pick up. The best thing to do is go with your gut instincts if you see someone scared and you feel safe to do so, reassure them and help them out, you never know what they are going through. We hope this post has been helpful, until next time, stay safe.

Phil Taylor
Phil Taylor Body Language Expert