As a writer, with the constant “show, don’t tell” refrain echoing in our heads, being able to show how a character is feeling is extremely important. Using non-verbal communication to show our characters moods is a great start.
I’m a people watcher. Always have been, always will be. I find body language fascinating. You can sit in your car and watch a person on the street, or in the car next to you, carry on a conversation on their cell phone or with a companion. You don’t need to hear words to gauge their emotions. It’s played out for you with their face, their eyes, hands, arms, etc.
So, here are a few examples of body language and their interpretation.
Arms crossed over chest – Defensive
An open palm – Sincerity, Openness
Rubbing the back of your neck – Frustration
Stroking your chin – Evaluating, Thinking
Tugging at your ear – Indecisiveness
Biting your nails – Nervous or Insecure
Tilting your head – Interest
Drumming your fingers – Boredom of Impatience
Hunched shoulders – Dejection
Rubbing your hands together – Anticipation
Go ahead; add a few of your own!