Emotion Thesaurus: Worry

  • Bouncing or tapping feet
  • Pulling at one’s hair
  • Second-guessing oneself
  • Unwillingness to leave a certain place (telephone, house, car)
  • Sleeplessness
  • Circles under the eyes
  • A need for control
  • Illogical fears
  • Panic attacks
  • Repeatedly rubbing at the face
  • Reading into things, over-analyzing
  • Stooped posture
  • A strained or faked smile
  • Chewing on a knuckle
  • A gaze that flits around the room, never settling on a person or object for long…

Win your readers’ hearts by tailoring your character’s emotional responses so they’re compelling, credible, and realistic.

If you struggle with writing emotions like so many writers do, you’ll be happy to know that this sample has been expanded into book form. The full list of physical, internal, and mental cues for this and 74 other emotions can be found in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. For more information on this bestselling book and where it can be found, please visit our bookstore.

And the news gets better: we’ve added 15 entries to this collection, including grief, lust, and self-loathing. To access these, simply visit our online library at One Stop For Writers. There, you’ll find all 90 entries from our popular Emotion Thesaurus, which have been updated and enhanced to provide even greater value. Users also enjoy the flexibility of cross-referenced material for easy searchability across all of our completed thesaurus collections. Interested in viewing a sample? Register for free at One Stop, and see what this innovative online library can do for your storytelling.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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11 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus: Worry

  1. Pingback: Emotion Thesaurus Entry Collection (Samples) | Writers Helping Writers

  2. Robert says:

    Kelly, his last name was Neuman (I think I speeled that correctly). I’ll have to check with “the usual group of idiots” to be sure though…

  3. Julie Musil says:

    I thought you’d like to know I needed another action for “worry” and turned to your thesaurus. Found just what I needed…thanks!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for the emotion thesaurus. It’s helped me so much with my writing. Now my descriptions, and especially the way I describe my characters’ emotions, has improved heaps. Thanks for sharing all of this!

  5. Becca says:

    Thanks, Kathy, for suggesting ‘worry’ as an ET topic!

  6. Angela says:

    Bish, I absolutely agree!

    Thanks PJ!

    Lapillus, this one is very helpful to me as well. I use worry a lot in my own writing.

    Kelly, you brought back so many memories mentioning Mad Magazine! OMG, I loved it so much!

    Nora, thank you so much! I feel so lucky to know so many great fellow bloggers. I can’t believe I didn’t get into blogging sooner!

  7. FYI – Love your site. I blogged about you today. You’ve been tagged for the Awesome Blog Award!

  8. Kelly says:

    This is great!
    When I hear the word, “worry”, I think of the Mad Magazine guy (Alfred E. Something…)saying, “Who me, worry?”

  9. Lapillus says:

    This will be a good one for me. My characters always seem to be wringing their hands when they are anxious or worried. Time to branch out!

  10. PJ Hoover says:

    I never want the emotions to go away!

  11. Bish Denham says:

    This is also a good list of discriptions for Nervousness and/or being On Edge.

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