Answered by Janet Lee on Wednesday, October 7, 2009
"Although it's not a very common term, geographic stress refers to specific stress related to—somehow dictated or conditioned by—location," says Joseph Bellanti, M.D., director of the immunology center at Georgetown University Hospital. For example, strip miners in Appalachia, stock brokers working on Wall Street during a market plunge, and window washers at the Sears Tower all are subjected to geographic stress. It's about your immediate surroundings, the stressors your environment naturally produces. Your body reacts to this kind of anxiety in much the same way it handles others—"it all triggers the same responses," says Dr. Bellanti— "but since you're subjected to the same environment day after day, it could create chronic stress, which can wreak havoc on your body and your immune system." Of course, some people may love the frenzy of the trading pit or the high-wire act of washing windows 1,000 feet off the ground, adds Dr. Bellanti. "In which case they're less likely to feel the effects of geographic stress." The good news is, you can eliminate it immediately just by quitting your job. Unfortunately, being out of work or starting a new job can create a whole other kind of stress.