How to stop negative people at work draining your energy

This week I’m answering this question:

Hi Barbara, I work in a team with a few negative people and they have a tendency to bring me down throughout the day. What can I do to keep myself positive and in a good mood when I’m surrounded by negative energy?

Oh I loved this question.

Being around negative people can be such a huge drain on your energy, especially if you’re managing them, and after a while it can really take it’s toll on your mood – which can then transfer to your friends and family if you’re not careful.

Now this post isn’t about how you manage negative people, but more about how you manage yourself and keep your own mood in check, which is just as important. Negative people are what I call the subtractors of the world. The people who seem to just suck out all the positivity from the room without even trying. The human version of JK Rowling’s Dementors from Harry Potter. The problem is that no amount of magic on your part is going to change them immediately (that takes time) so it’s really crucial that you keep your own energy levels up so the mood doesn’t start spreading like wildfire.

1.Prepare your mood for work

Just like you’d stretch before preparing for a race, get your mood in check before you enter the office. Give yourself a pep talk; and flood your brain with positive thoughts. The reason being is that if you enter work feeling fed up before you start, it’ll be much harder to pick yourself up. So, make sure you’re feeling up beat and positive as you start your day. So, make sure you get your favourite coffee; do your exercise (if that’s your thing) or just watch a funny clip on you tube – whatever does it for you – and get yourself primed for the day.

2.Have positive people on speed dial

If the negative people are in your team, make sure you’ve got access to someone who’s just as positive as you are. These people are so important, so if you can’t think of anyone right now, put finding a cheerleader on your to do list. Send them a message, give them a quick call or meet them for lunch – they’ll soon be able to pick you up.

3. Take a walk

Getting some fresh air really does work wonders so go and take a quick 5 minute walk – even if you’re just sticking your head out of the door. Take a deep breath a few times and allow the negativity to wash away.

4. Write a high frequency list and use that

This is a fantastic tool and takes only a few minutes. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and set your alarm for 5 minutes. Now brainstorm as many things as you can that bring you joy and happiness. The rule here is that it doesn’t matter how small these things are you can put them down. Just to give you an idea things on my list are: ice-cream from an ice cream van and watching a favourite show on Netflix. This is your list so anything goes. Once the alarm goes off you’ll be feeling so much better. You can also keep your list handy and on particularly bad days pick something from it to pick you up.

5. High vibe music

Music is amazing for changing a mood – so create a high vibe music play list and have a listen for a few minutes. If you’re able to you can also create one for the team and have it on in the office to lift the mood for everyone.

6. Don’t dwell

No matter how negative your team are being that day it’s so important to not dwell. The more you moan the worse you’ll feel as you’ll just be playing it over and over again in your mind. Instead, brush it off and talk about something else to keep you motivated.


I’d love to hear your thoughts and the way you keep your spirits up. Let me know by leaving a comment.


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