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How Does Body Language Indicates Depression?

Misbah has done her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has access to a wide range of mental health experts who treat mental illness.

The daily conversation

We start our everyday communication with conversations such as: "How are you doing?" Yeah, I'm fine... How's it going? ", yeah, it's fine." What's up? What's good about you?"

The people you meet often provide you with these responses as usual. It is often difficult to know whether someone is depressed. A friend of yours may give you the same answers, but certain indicators you see in the person's body language may be proof that he is in a depressed state. Body language is hardly mistaken in this regard

Research shows, Without a doubt, all of us feel negative emotions. It is a scientific fact that one out of every five people will be depressed throughout his life. Some people are depressed, but may be unaware of this and may think that these feelings are normal.

No single symptom alone indicates that a person is depressed. In this article, I will share some tips with you on the body language of people who feel depressed. When you see three or four body language signals in yourself or others, you may feel that something is wrong.

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called a major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.

Here are body language indicators of depression

Bad Posture

This is one of the most obvious body language indicators of depression. We can come across many people who have such a stance. It is a form of posture and sitting with shoulders bent forward and hunched over. Poor posture can also be caused by a bad posture or habit. It can also be a body habit created by prolonged depression.


Isn't it very interesting? How can laughter be a symptom of depression? Research shows that people who suffer from depression laugh too much or too little. Laughing exaggeratedly about something that is not especially funny is a sign of anxiety. For example, laughing excessively at a joke that does not make everybody laugh can indicate that something is wrong.

On the other hand, even in funny situations where everyone laughs a lot, forcibly smiling or not laughing may indicate that the person is disconnected from that communication and indifferent

Woman in black- depression

Woman in black- depression

Lack of Eye Contact

People with a lack of self-confidence, find it difficult to make eye contact. While talking to the other person, he/she talks either by looking down or looking behind the person. However, a person who lacks self-confidence can pay attention to talking even though he cannot make eye contact.

The lack of eye contact here is associated with the shyness of the person. However, whether the depressed person is looking into your eyes or not, what is evident is that he/she is not very interested in speaking. He seems bored and distant from speaking. For this reason, frequent breaks occur in eye contact.


When a person is standing, look at his feet. The average person stands with his feet wide at his shoulders. If we imagine the self-confident Superman for a moment, he has a stance that is wider than his shoulders. A depressed person tries to cover as little space as possible as if he or she does not want to be seen in the world.

His feet are almost adjacent to each other. Another body language indicator of depression is to shrink more and take up less space with a hunched shoulder posture.

Sitting Cross Ankles

A person can sit crosswise or keep his legs together while sitting, with his legs spread. A depressed person frequently crosses his ankles. This is one of the ways of anxiety and body protection in body language.

Sitting with the ankles crossed is a purely unconscious movement. Sitting this way is more comfortable for the depressed person than any other style.

Depression differs from simple grief or mourning, which are appropriate emotional responses to the loss of loved persons or objects.

Neck Stands Forward

If the person's head is protruding in relation to the bad posture feature, this may be an indicator of submission and surrender. Dogs are seen to stick their heads forward in the face of an authoritarian and dominant leader. They show that they have no fear and surrender by presenting the most sensitive part of their body to the other side. In other words, they describe what they gave up. As with bad posture, it is important to distinguish whether this is a habit or not.

Dead Pan

Another sign of body language is looking blankly while speaking or listening. According to what the other person says in our daily conversation, our face constantly changes like a wavy sea. No matter how interesting the story is when there is an expressionless face, it may be a sign of depression. While these people are listening, but are not a listener who constantly supports the other person with head movements.

You may sometimes get a smile while listening. In a normal state, the eyes also smile. Pay attention to the eyes. If only the lips are smiling and the eyes are still and not responding well, this may be a clue that the other person is not happy or is not paying attention. Since you can see the wrinkles on the sides of the eyes called crow's feet for a real smile

Slow Movements

If a person is starting to move much less than he normally do, this could be another sign of depression. It is an important body language signal for depression as it shows how little energy and excitement he/she is carrying. When collecting things, getting in the car, lying, getting up, walking, and eating, pay attention to their behavior. For people with depression, takes a lot of effort and time to do everything including small daily life tasks.


Having difficulty deciding anything from choosing a meal on the menu to where to go is another big indicator of depression. Not having an opinion on a matter can be the result of indifference, not taking responsibility, and not trusting their decision. Although indecision is more of a behavior than a body language act, it is an important indicator for insight into the mind.

Depression usually has a mix of physical, emotional, and mental symptoms. Studies show that the most effective way to treat depression is a combination of medicine and therapy. Options range from counseling, like cognitive therapy, to meeting with a support group. Learning to cope with the conflicts, traumas, losses, or stresses that trigger your illness can help keep you well.

Important note

These are the basic body language indicators that can be observed in people with depression. Again, none of these behaviors indicate depression when seen alone. By themselves, they can be a sign of a habit or another problem.

If a person who does not have any of these symptoms starts to have several of them over a period of time, it shows us that something is not working well with that person. If you or a relative encounter these symptoms, you will have the chance to take steps for early intervention and it can help to deal with depression at an early stage.








This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Misbah Sheikh


Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 13, 2021:

Thanks a lot for the appreciation, Rosina. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my work - Much Gratitude !!

Blessings and Peace

Rosina S Khan on April 08, 2021:

A very intriguing article indeed! You explain well how body language speaks for signs of depression. Thanks for sharing, Misbah.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 08, 2021:

Salam, Thanks a lot, Amara. I appreciate your efforts in reading and making comment on my work. Glad to know you found it informative and interesting. God Bless you too dear sister

Much Love!!

Amara from Pakistan on April 08, 2021:

Informative and interesting article Misbah.. Keep on writing good my dear sister.. God keep you blessed..

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 08, 2021:

Chitra Di, I am glad to know you found it informative. I very much appreciate your efforts to read and comment on this article. Much Gratitude.

Blessings always

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 08, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Ravi for taking the time to read and comment. Much Gratitude.

Peace and Blessings to you

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 08, 2021:

Excellent and informative article about the signs caused by depression.

You have provided some important points to identify depression in people, through their body language.

Thank you for sharing this well written and researched article.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on April 08, 2021:

Very useful information Misbah. Depression has become so common in today's world and it makes perfect sense to understand the symptoms well in advance so that corrective actions can be taken.THanks for sharing.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 08, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Devika for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate your kind words. Much Gratitude. I am glad you found it informative.

Blessings and Peace dear friend

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 08, 2021:

Linda, I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my work. I appreciate your kindness. I'm humbled and grateful

Blessings to you always

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 08, 2021:

Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and comment, Peggy. Much appreciated. Yes, behavior and attitude are very wide topics in the field of social psychology and carry much more than I mentioned here.

Sending Blessings

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 08, 2021:

Hi Misbah A very interesting topic and important to all. It is informative and tells us to be aware of body language in Depression which is in detail and well-researched. Stating such information is enlightening us of what to look for in an individual's behavior on this unique topic. Thank you for this information.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 07, 2021:

Thank you for sharing the interesting and useful information, Misbah. Your topic is important.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 07, 2021:

Reading body language is as important as listening to a person. It can tell us much about how a person is feeling or reacting. I knew some but not all of these symptoms. Of course, as you mentioned, there can be other causes for some of these symptoms.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Farah for taking the time to read and comment. Yes, body language does speak and can indicate many psychological problems including depression

Blessings always

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

Benda, Thanks a lot for the appreciation. Yes, body language does speak, we just need to listen to it. A person in depression feels it difficult to express through words or may fail to explain. I appreciate you reading and making a comment on it.

Blessings and Peace

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Ann. Glad to know you found it informative. Much appreciated. I'm humbled and grateful.

Blessing and Smiles

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

Nice to hear from you Gyanendra mocktan. It's always good to understand and treat calmly the people whom you feel are having such symptoms. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions with us

Blessings and Peace

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

HaHa... Chrish, You made me remember the days when I started to study psychology. I also used to feel on every psychological problem as if I am also suffering the same symptoms. My teacher always used to get angry as she needs to satisfy the students first in every lecture that they are not the ones who are having such a disease.

Blessings to you

Farah N Huq from Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 07, 2021:

A very informative article Misbah! Body language has always been an interesting topic and if you can use it to identify something as serious as depression then it can be benefitial for many.keep up the good work.

Ann Carr from SW England on April 07, 2021:

Good information and advice. We should all be aware of other people's body language as it can tell us so much. Many of these I knew but not the head protrusion. Thanks for the education.


BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 07, 2021:


Great article.

It's often hard to tell when someone is depressed.

He can say he is fine, but his actions speak louder.

Paying attention to those subtle signs is a good idea.

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on April 07, 2021:

Yes, The indicators you have described here of depression about a person is exact. Those indications perfectly match with the body language book by Salini Verma.

That book was much helpful for developing my skill and I used them while teaching in the schools and communicating wth the students

I use body language skill that I had learnt from that book in every day life too.

I avoid people with haunched chest while sitting or while walking. If I happen to meet them on the way or in any situation, I greet them politely and if they have anything to communicate with me, I listen to them with rapt attention, but I neither take sides with his opinions or oppose him. I keep my face and my language in neutral state.

Your explanation will help many readers to know how to deal with every day situation in life.

It would be wonderful if you have visual photos or sketches for each description you have given here.

Thank you,

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Mr. Bill for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate your kindness. It's never too late. I am glad you liked it.

Peace and Blessings to you.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on April 07, 2021:

While I was reading every lines, my brain was asking if I have those signs. Thanks a lot for such an informative article, it sure is helpful to anywho. A Psychologist I know usually discuss about emotional behavior, thanks a lot again for adding another important information I also need to know. Blessings my friend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 07, 2021:

I somehow missed this. Sorry about that! Very interesting article. Excellent information, my friend!

Happy Wednesday to you!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Manatita bro

You never fail to make me smile. I’m touched beyond words.

Much Gratitude

Blessings and Peace always

manatita44 from london on April 07, 2021:

An informative, topical and well-written Hub. Excellent article!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

Pamela, I'm humbled and grateful.

Much appreciated

Blessings always

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

So kind of you, Gyanendra Mocktan

I would like to hear more from you after you finish reading it.

Blessings always

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 07, 2021:

This is a very good informational article, Misbah. There are sure a lot of possible physical symptoms of depression. You obviously researched this topic very well.


gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on April 07, 2021:

Masbah, I've read Salini Verma's body Language a decade ago.

I have also read other books by western writers.

One of subject I like most is the body language. I have read half of your article while sipping tea in a restaurant.

I will read again when return home in the evening.

Thank you,

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 07, 2021:

Thanks a lot, John for being the very first one to read and comment on this article. I am glad you found it informative. It means a lot coming from you! It makes my day to hear that.

Much Gratitude

Blessings always

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on April 07, 2021:

What an interesting and informative article, Misbah. You give good information about what body language to look out for as signs of depression. Blessings.

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