‘The Amazing A-Z of Resilience’ is a bold, illustrated A to Z book of fun activities which spark conversations about mental health, wellbeing and resilience with children aged 8 to 12.
David Gumbrell, Education Consultant and author of the book uses popcorn below as a metaphor to describe how to manage big feelings.

Did you know that popcorn kernels can pop up to 3 feet in the air!?
Popcorn is a variety of corn seed that has a hard shell, like a coat around it. About one fifth of that seed is water. As you heat the seed up, the water starts turning into steam. As it does, the space the water takes up starts to get bigger . . . and bigger and bigger until it can’t be held in by its coating any longer . . . POP!

In 1885, Charles Creators managed to make the world’s first portable popcorn machine in America. Soon, he was travelling round with it making his popcorn pop in just the right way. When his popcorn popped, it popped consistently and so he could start making other machines that could also make this increasingly POPular snack.

Vendors soon began selling popcorn to people outside of movie theatres, allowing for a double profit of passers-by but also film-goers too. The cheap snack was a huge hit, especially as money was tight in the Great Depression. It is also the reason why you now connect going to see a film with the munching of popcorn. So, next time you go to the cinema, be pleased that your popcorn has already done it’s jumping (up to 3 feet in the air) and you just need to concentrate on the eating!

With the current lockdown scenario, we have all felt a little cooped-up. Within our own little bubbles, the pressure has built up over the weeks and months. This is understandable and many people have taken to going out for a walk, to get some space, to avoid going pop. This is a good way to release the pressure, for it to be channelled in a good way, to make you feel happier and more contented.

But you yourself could also be the kernel. Pressure builds up in us too as we think too much about things, when we have too much time on our hands, when we have run out of things to do. If we allow that pressure to build without doing anything about it then the damage can be huge. Ignoring the problem too, doesn’t make it go away either, the forces are still building – even if you try and ignore them!

It is good practice to try and catch yourself before you go POP. Stop and think about how you are feeling now. Are you feeling calm? Can you sense that the pressure is building up? Are you about to burst? Whatever your answer to these questions, try to find a way to release that pressure in a controlled way. Do you need a walk? Do you need some fresh air? Do you want to get lost in good book?

Popcorn jump almost 3 feet in the air when it pops. That would cause chaos if it wasn’t in the correct environment, like a Creators Machine. You too need to reflect on how you can control yourself, emotionally regulate yourself – to self-manage your POP! 

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