Do you feel stressed? No need to keep it a secret. Recent research indicates that showing signals of worry may help you get a better reaction from others.

Humans exhibit a variety of subtle behaviors that are linked to anxiety, such as touching our faces and hair, twisting our mouths, licking our lips, and biting our nails. All of these behaviors may indicate our fragility and elicit a warm response from others. Jamie Whitehouse, a researcher at Nottingham Trent University, asked 133 participants to evaluate fake interviews that displayed these behaviors. As expected, the viewers were able to tell how agitated the interviewees were feeling, and this seemed to result from those recognizable nonverbal cues. The more stress the interviewees displayed, the more enticing they appeared to those viewing their videos. Additionally, a recent study by Rochester Institute of Technology assistant professor Christopher Thorstenson discovered that a modest blush on the face raised the rating of embarrassment and sincerity, hence also increasing the likelihood that people would be forgiven. It can be advantageous to display some emotional sincerity, regardless of whether we are tensely biting our lips or shining like a neon sign. People’s reactions to our nonverbal cues, however, will vary depending on the situation. Without any indication of the cause of our worries, coworkers who watch us tense and scowling in the office may mistakenly interpret our stress signals as animosity or rage.

We can quit worrying about our anxiety by learning to embrace our nerves. It’s safe to believe that the recipient of our cues will respond more warmly than we could have previously imagined.