Ways Stress Impacts Your Body Language
Stress is a powerful force and can show itself in a range of ways.
Stress can impact your body language.
You can get "rub-a-dub" where you touch different parts of your body to soothe or calm yourself. You might wring your hands or rub your arm or neck.
Or, you might do what I call the "wrap around" where you give yourself a self-hug or wrap your feet around the legs of your chair. Symbolically, it’s as if you’re grounding yourself.
When you’re feeling stressed, your blood pressure can increase temporarily and you can get skin color changes. For example, your ears, cheeks or neck get turn red.
How To Help Someone Who’s Stressed Out
Between work, money, relationships and everything else in life - stress is inevitable. Earlier, we talked about common body language signs of stress. Now, let's focus on ways to help someone who's stressed out.
If you suspect someone is stressed out and you want to help, then start a casual chat. And mention what you're noticing. Make a clarifying statement like "I'm getting the sense that ..." If they say that they're stressed out then ask what you can do to make things better. Some people decline help when asked so you may want to offer to do something that will ease their stress. Many times people need someone to listen. Someone who won't pass judgment or be critical.
With your offer you can expect two common responses. One, they can insist that they're fine and flat out refuse. My suggestion is to leave it alone. Let them know that you're there if they change their mind. Or, if they seem unsure or hesitant about accepting help then you can go behind-the-scenes and figure something out. For example, you can arrange with their spouse to take care of their kids for a day or night out. Go to an outing, go for a walk, go out to lunch or dinner.
Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/corporate trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.