I once caught myself whistling.
I had done something to someone, that I really regretted, and I felt sick about it. I kept replaying the scene, wishing I’d done something different. Over, and over.
Then I was working on math homework, and just kind of distracted myself from being a person interacting with other people altogether. It was just me, and the symbols, the logic.
After the math homework, I was on my way to meet up with people to go for a run, and I caught myself whistling some sort of cheery tune. I was shocked: “Malcolm, you can’t be whistling..! You’re supposed to be all upset about this thing you did!”
I came so close. To believing what I told myself. I very nearly threw myself back down into that pit of despair and angst and regret and nausea. But then I realized I didn’t have to. That me stewing over what I’d done wasn’t helping anyone at all.
So I kept whistling.
My parents had told me, since I was quite young, that I could choose what emotions I felt in response to a situation.