Here is a good list of ways people cope with stress: Everyone reacts differently, however, so not all defense mechanisms are listed. A good rule of thumb is to think about how you react to situations, or how you’ve seen someone else react. Different personalities react in different ways, we’ve all seen a group of people get the same news and react.
A pop quiz in class, some will be mad, some will be nervous and some will slouch in their chairs already defeated.
An Example: My husband and I were driving along when a dog ran out in front of our car. Hubby was driving and couldn’t stop. I yelled look out, he stomped the brakes. We got out and I ran to the dog, I was upset and on the verge of tears. Hubby was mad, cursing and checking the car for damage.
Boy, was I upset with him! The car can be fixed, the dog couldn’t! He loves dogs; I knew he was upset but his priorities were more practical at first. Where my reaction and priorities were more emotional. After the car checked out fine, he let his sad emotions over the dead dog take over and it was my turn to ask if the car was okay. Then I got mad at the owner of the dog, because why was it loose.
Just something to consider when writing.