Fear vs. Phobia

Would the word Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia strike fear in your heart? For most people it doesn’t, but there are people who this would make fear shoot through them like a lightning bolt even before they read it. Those people have a fear of long words, which that 36-letter word stands for. I know it seems funny to have a fear of long words, but it’s a real phobia. It’s just as real as aviophobia (fear of flying), coulrophobia (fear of clowns), or even numerophobia (fear of numbers).

Fears and phobias are continuously used interchangeably. Fears and phobias, I hate to say it, are not the same thing. Even though they are very similar; they still have differences. A fear does make you anxious and can make you uncomfortable, but a phobia is even worse.

Fear is a natural, human emotion. It lets us know there is a presence of danger or harm. A natural fear response can contain…

  • Anxiety
  • Queasy stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling shaky

But fear symptoms are manageable, and you can still live life as is.

A phobia, on the other hand, has a fear response to an item that is not necessarily a danger or harm to them. The fear response to someone with a phobia mimics the exact symptoms of typical fear, but the object or action is not an immediate threat. Phobias engage the flight, fight, or freeze response to everyday objects or actions that most people aren’t bothered by or pertain no threat. Some phobia responses include…

  • Cold sweats
  • Crying
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Hyperventilation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Dizziness

Many people have a phobia of some kind, I know I do. I had a phobic attack in one of my classes just last week. I was in my psychology class, going over what we will cover in the class and looking at the syllabus. When we reached the topic of fears.

We all started to mention what type of fears we had; some said lighting, some said heights, some said in closed spaces, and I said spiders. For me spiders are my number one fear.

We all started to mention what type of fears we had; some said lighting, some said heights, some said in closed spaces, and I said spiders. For me spiders are my number one fear.

 Obviously, this whole thing was just a ‘fun’ exercise. The next slide on the power point was a big, hairy, creepy, dark, SPIDER. I could not handle seeing the picture of the spider and broke down into tears in my psychology class. All in all, phobias are no joke.

Fun with Sensory Play

I know we have all been pretty antsy at home due to COVID-19, some more than others, especially parents. It is difficult being home without a job, but it is extra aggravating when you have a child constantly wanting to be up in your space because they are bored and have nothing to do. I have a great way to curb the boring times with the use of sensory play.

Sensory play is any type of play that stimulates the senses; Smell, touch, sight, hearing, and tasting. This can be very helpful to a child and be very fun! Sensory play helps a child’s cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral development, along with speech. Different types of sensory play work more on specific types of development.

 This fun activity only requires a few ingredients and has little to no mess! You can do this activity multiple ways and most ingredients you will already have in your home. You can either keep this activity as a sensory play or you can even make it into an art project and make it into paint.

I love to make this activity at home: Fake Snow! To make fake snow my personal favorite way you will need a bowl or bin, cornstarch, and conditioner or lotion. You add one bag, 16 oz, of cornstarch and 1 cup of lotion/ conditioner and mix it together until it becomes sticky and clump together with little pressure added. Feel free to add different items into the fake snow like pine cones or everyday items you find in the house to give more items to explore how to use and incorporate the items into the snow.

Ways fake snow can help development:

Social/Emotional: safe outlet for extra energy or emotions (pound it or squeeze it), can create a way to cope with strong feelings, also collaboration if a sibling or parent plays with them.

Cognitive: extreme creative outlet to build and shape whatever comes to mind, symbolic thinking, and pretend play.

Language: expressing thoughts and feelings with words ex. I am squishing the snowman and widening vocabulary.

Physical: use of fine motor skills

Behavioral: Collaboration and stress relief

Here are some more links about Fake Snow


A Little About Me

To start things off my name is Tyler H. and I go to Plymouth State University. I am majoring in Early Childhood Education, but I also have a love for psychology. I really started to think about what I wanted to do with my life in the middle of high school, I was never the kid who at age five knew what she wanted to do with her life.

I always knew I enjoyed children and enjoyed psychology. For a while I was trying to put together what job I could get a degree in that combines children and psychology. The first idea that came to mind was “I could be a child psychologist!”, but then again I realized that I would be helping children who have rough home lives, or children who are suffering with depression, etc. I have too big of a heart to see a child suffering, but as a child psychologist you are not allowed to get involved so no calling DCYF or talking to the parents about why the child is suffering. That was just too hard for me to swallow.

In the end, the job I decided to go to college for is an early childhood education teacher, which covers birth to 3rd grade. I started to work at the on campus daycare and that got me thinking yet again about what I really wanted to do. I came to realize that I mostly enjoy being around babies, toddlers, and early preschoolers (birth- yr. 3).

In the end I figured out that I want to be a lead teacher at a daycare in a toddler classroom and also be a Mommy and Me yoga instructor for mom’s and their toddlers. That’s a little bit about me.