Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Unease


When it comes to emotion, sometimes we need a brainstorming nudge. After all, each character will express their feelings differently depending on their personality, emotional range, and comfort zone. We hope this short, sample list of expressions will help you better imagine how your character might show this emotion!

If you need to go deeper, we have detailed lists of body language, visceral sensations, and mental responses for 75 emotions in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.


  • Crossing and uncrossing the arms or legs
  • Drawing one’s mouth into a straight line and biting one’s lip
  • Excessive swallowing
  • Clearing the throat
  • Chills
  • Pushing food around on a plate
  • Trying to remain unnoticed (slumping in chair, edging toward an exit)
  • Pretending to be unaware of shouting, an argument, or an uncomfortable event
  • Turning slowly, unwillingly
  • Stilted dialogue
  • Choosing a safe spot to wait (back to the wall or corner)
  • Consciously forcing one’s limbs to relax
  • Pacing
  • Nervous laughter
  • Nervous habits (picking off nail polish, humming under the breath)
  • Warm, sweaty hands…

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

If you struggle with writing emotions, you aren’t alone. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression has helped writers all over the globe, and it can help you. To find out more about this bestselling book, please visit our bookstore.

Prefer the flexibility of instant online access and greater searchability?

The Emotion Thesaurus is also at our sister site, One Stop for Writers. There, we’ve expanded the entries to include many more emotions such as grief, lust, and self-loathing. Visit the Emotion Thesaurus Page to view our complete list of entries.

If you’re ready to elevate your storytelling, stop by sometime to see if our one-of-a-kind tools and resources can help you. Registration is always free. 🙂



Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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2 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Unease

  1. Pingback: Emotion Thesaurus Entry Collection (Samples) | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  2. Coralyn Jade says:

    This is so helpful for my main character with OCD. 🙂 Thanks so much for posting this.

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