The neck is an area that becomes particularly sensitive under pressure and like the cheeks, it becomes red and engorged with blood when we become nervous. While touching the neck and nose can be the result of fear or nervousness they can also be meant as pacifying behaviours. Pacifying behaviours happen automatically, our brains send a message to our bodies that we need to be pacified and out go our hands to serve the purpose. As always, it is important to decide what kind of emotion has demanded the body language, be it nervousness as a result of sweating, or because there is an underlying threat causing fear that requires soothing.
Women are particularly prone to bringing their hand up to the “suprasternal notch” which is the dimple just below the neck between the Adam’s apple and the breast bone when nervous, distressed, threatened, insecure, fearful or uncomfortable. Covering the suprasternal notch is one of the nonverbal signals that is unmistakable and also reliable in predicting emotional distress, one that shouldn’t be ignored.