What Fear Looks Like and Sounds Like

Looks like:


Physical discomfort

  • Stomach pain or feeling sick
  • Pale face
  • Sweating
  • Trembling hands and tense posture
  • Restlessness (i.e. fiddling with clothes, tearing up paper, chair rocking)

Feeling on edge or wanting to escape

  • Lack of facial expressions
  • Shrugging shoulders and not saying anything
  • Uncontrollable laughter
  • Close to tears and shaky breaths
  • Inability to complete sentences
  • Avoiding eye contact


  • Refusal to participate
  • Disengagement or shutting down
  • Being absent
  • Distracting others or telling jokes

Sounds like:


Stalling or Avoiding the Task

  • “I don’t want to do it.”
  • “Can someone else go?”
  • “I’m not ready yet.”

Making the task seem less important

  • “Why do we have to do this anyway?”
  • “This is stupid.”
  • “It doesn’t matter anyway.”

Predicting a negative outcome

  • “I’m so bad at this.”
  • “This is going to be awful.”
  • “I’m going to lose/fail.”
  • “She’s so going to beat me.”
  • “This isn’t going to be as good as hers.”
  • “Too bad I have to follow her.”
  • “I’ll never be smart enough.”
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