A lot is happening in the world today, and it’s easier than ever before to stay informed.

A smartphone gives you access not just to the latest headlines, but also reactions to those headlines on social media sites like Facebook and X.

But the endless stream of information can be harmful to your mental health, especially in the aftermath of a tragedy, like a natural disaster or other mass casualty event.

Here’s a look at how to follow the news while prioritizing your mental well-being.

Prioritizing mental health while following the news

Seeing videos of tragic events, like the recent bridge collapse in Baltimore, can be profoundly distressing for people, triggering conflicting responses from various regions of the brain, per ABC News.

George Everly, an associate professor of psychiatry and adjunct professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University, said to ABC News, “Over time, the human brain gets use to everyday threats, but when something novel and spectacular like (the bridge collapse) happens, it can go into survival mode, which is a protective mechanism.”

Jyoti Kanwar, a psychiatrist at the University of Maryland Medical Center and assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, emphasized the importance of pausing and examining the factual details of news events in an interview with ABC News.

Young people, in particular, need to understand that just because a bad thing happened once, it doesn’t mean it will happen all the time, Kanwar said to ABC News.

Tips for staying informed — and healthy

Last year, CNBC highlighted five ways to stay informed while taking care of your mental health:

  1. Pick two to three reliable sources to follow.
  2. Set a time limit.
  3. Focus on written articles instead of pictures of videos.
  4. Pay attention to your body and how you are feeling.
  5. Give yourself breaks, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
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