How to keep coronavirus fears from affecting your mental health

Updated 10:03 AM ET, Sat March 14, 2020

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(CNN)Coronavirus! Yes, it's a serious situation, and yes, it deserves your vigilance and attention.

But the constant spring of information, precautions and warnings, whether it's straight from the CDC or some recirculated, dubiously-sourced post on Facebook, can take a real toll on your mental health.
When does caution become overreaction? When does staying informed cross the line into, well, too much information?
The good news is, there is a happy medium between willfully ignoring the biggest story in the world right now, and going into a full-on panic. Here are some tips. Think of it like hand-washing and social distancing, but for your brain.

Pare down your sources of information

"There is a ton of information out there. The challenge is trying to determine which information is accurate." says Lynn Bufka, Associate Executive Director for Research and Policy at the American Psychological Association. She suggests taking control of your intake through the following steps:
  • Find a few sources you trust and stick with them. Choose one national or international source like the CDC, and another local nor national source so you can know what's going on in your community.
  • Limit the frequency of your updates. Things may be changing rapidly, but that doesn't mean you need to hang on every update. Think of it this way: If there is a tornado coming your way, you need information as soon as possible. The coronavirus is not a tornado. This may mean disabling constant notifications from news sites or social media.
  • Know when to walk away. "Try to get used to not knowing every little thing, and feeling okay with uncertainty," says Bufka. She recommends getting y