Signs of Insecurity in Your Body Language

Body language speaks louder than words.
... David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Your body language is an important part of communication. Through nonverbal signs, we unintentionally communicate how we think and feel, says Leonard Mlodinow, best-selling author of "Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior," in the "Psychology Today" article "How We Communicate Through Body Language." It's normal to feel insecure at times, but being aware of your body language can prevent you from broadcasting it.

1 Eye Contact and Facial Expressions

It's hard for individuals who lack confidence to maintain eye contact with others, according to psychotherapist Gerald Stein in the article "Signs of Insecurity: Behavior that Reveals a Lack of Confidence," published on his website. You might look down when you are talking with someone, look across the room or avoid eye contact altogether. You might subconsciously chew on your lower lip or display a look of uneasiness on your face.

2 Body Movement and Posture

Your posture and the way you move communicate an abundance of information to others, according to the article "Nonverbal Communication," written by Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Melinda Smith, M.A., Greg Boose, and Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D. Slouched posture, whether you are sitting or standing, can indicate insecurity. You might cross your arms or you might shuffle or cross your feet. Your hands may tremble -- you may put them in your pockets. You may also be fidgety when feeling insecure.

3 Gestures and Signs

Having palm-to-palm contact is the most significant part of a handshake, even more so than the grip, says Patti Wood, author of "Success Signals: A Guide to Reading Body Language," as quoted in "Body Language Basics" on WebMD. A "dead fish" handshake can be a sign that you're not self-confident. An overly strong handshake can also indicate insecurity. Nervous laughter, blushing and biting your fingernails can also be signs of insecurity.

4 Awareness of Body Language

You can learn to have more control over your body language, but you need to consider every part of your day and your actions, says Wood. You may inadvertently be sending signs of insecurity, even when you are not feeling insecure. On the other hand, you could be feeling insecure and are broadcasting it without being aware. Recognize how you act during the day and make appropriate changes. For example, if you go to class or work and avoid eye contact with everyone, you may be sending the message that you are insecure. If you start looking people in the eye and smiling, you will come across as friendly and more self-confident. Changing your nonverbal communication requires the decision to actively practice altering your unwanted patterns, according to Beth S. Pumerantz, L.M.F.T, in her article "We Communicate What We Feel" on

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.