16 Little Ways To Protect Your Happiness When You're Surrounded By Negative People

We can't help but be affected by other people's moods, but we don't have to let them overtake us.

Last updated on Apr 21, 2024

Happy woman, taking a photo with her camera Polina Kuzovkova | Unsplash

Ever found yourself walking away from a conversation feeling utterly drained? One minute, you're chit-chatting, and the next minute, you draw in their complaints, whining negative attitude, and drama. Relationships with highly negative people can drain you. Sometimes, a person is wonderful, and you remember when you enjoyed their presence. Did you change, or did they?

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16 tiny things you can do now to protect your happiness surrounded by negativity 

1. Ditch the drama in your life

If you hang out with dramatic people, you will become one. Anyone who has been around the non-stop drama knows how exhausting it can be! Remind yourself someone else’s drama is not yours. Spend less time with those who fan the flames of drama.

she is positively rejecting negativity with one hand upPhoto: Reezky Pradata via Shutterstock


2. Remove energy drains from social media feeds

Do your uncle’s political rants raise your blood pressure? Unfriend him. Does the news feed from your favorite newspaper irritate you? Unlike them. Yes, unfollow and unfriend the social media feeds that only complain. Only follow people on social media who fuel your precious energy.

3. Connect with folks who make you excited about life

Sure, dramatic people have good stories, but they drain energy. Yes, those political pundits can be interesting, but debates get exhausting. Choose to spend time with folks who lift you with happiness and positivity. That will fuel your energy by the example of their own choices. Reconnect with an old friend, ask the new employee in the office to go to lunch, or reach out to that in-law of yours who always makes you laugh.

4. Complain less

Complaining is a choice to focus on the problem instead of seeking a solution. Complaining rewires your brain to the negative and shuts down your ability to solve problems. The more you complain, the more your brain will bring about those negative thoughts and the more drained of energy you will be.



When it comes to romantic relationships, The Gottman Institute found that couples who share negative interactions are more likely to divorce early. Since our brains are wired to the negative, we are more likely to believe criticism over compliments, which destroys our confidence. It also drains your energy. So, indulge in some positive thinking instead.


5. Say "no" more often

Nothing drains your energy more than doing something you just don’t want to do. I’m not just talking about turning down additions to an already busy schedule. One super important secret of people who always have energy is that they know when they’ve reached maximum capacity — and how to simplify.

Say "no" to that holiday party, tell the PTA you can’t bake cupcakes by tomorrow, and work with your boss to ensure a better work-life balance. Remind yourself every item on your task list is there by choice, not because of obligation.

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6. Make quality sleep a priority

Our bodies need sleep to reinvigorate and renew, but it goes deeper. Our bodies need periods of rest long enough to synthesize our hormones, grow muscle, and repair our damaged tissues. Sleep debt is real, and it’s also really a problem — one that can lead to a whole host of health issues along with your daily dose of fatigue.


According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need between seven and nine hours per night. And this isn’t an "average" number, where you can get five hours of sleep most days and then sleep in on the weekend. This means making at least seven hours of sleep per night, every night, a priority.

positive sleep experiencePhoto Olena Yakobchuk via Shutterstock

Quality sleep is more closely tied to a consistent sleep schedule. It’s also something you can’t snooze away in a single weekend. Instead, focus on getting a good night’s sleep every night.


7. Be grateful

Happy people are grateful for the life they live. Every night before you go to bed, write down at least three things you are thankful for. Remind yourself what’s good in your life. Going to sleep with gratitude on your mind will bring you a more positive approach when you wake up to a new day. Gratitude rewires your brain for joy — joyful people have more energy.

8. Don’t forget about intimacy

People who have regular physical intimacy keep their hormones and neurotransmitters flowing optimally. This means that your brain releases all sorts of feel-good chemicals that make life’s challenges seem much easier to conquer.

When we are intimate, we also satisfy the needs of human connection. Though the act of intimacy may exhaust you in the moments afterward, begin paying attention to what happens with your mind and body during the 24 hours after the encounter. No matter how you look at it, intimacy amps up your energy stores.

9. Speaking of the night before, an evening routine will set you up for success

Is there anything more energy-draining than hunting for your keys when you are trying to get out the door? Create a launchpad for each family member, lay out clothes for the next day, and do other tasks to help make mornings easier, like setting the coffee pot up the night before.




10. Fuel your day with solid morning routines

Routines are about managing your energy effectively so you can channel it towards your desires and purpose. Routines fuel your day and nourish your spirit. When you decide to take charge of how you spend your time, you begin to move off of dead center. You also bring calming energy to your day.

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11. Amp up your energy by pairing your routines with a morning ritual

It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or extrovert, you need to connect with yourself. Whether it’s how you make your first cup of tea in the morning, choosing to meditate before you shower, or reading something uplifting before you head to work, rituals are energy-giving. Consistently starting your morning with something you enjoy will invigorate your mind and body and send you out into the day with a sense of purpose.




12. Tidy up and clear your clutter

Long ago, I learned that a messy room exhausted me. To have more energy in your life, tidy up your space. Too much stuff and clutter will always drain your energy.

13. Get outside to naturally feed your energy stores

If you’re feeling drained, just a few moments in mother nature can give you a boost of calming energy. The Journal of Environmental Psychology found being out in nature made people feel more energetic after spending time in natural sightings.

Additional research found that patients recovering from surgery and heart problems had shorter hospital stays and needed less pain medication when they saw nature out their hospital window versus a brick wall. What this means for the average person is that being out in nature will tilt your mood to the positive.


sitting on grass with sun on her facePhoto: sun ok via Shutterstock

14. Move your body

It seems a little counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to add extra pep to your step is to take more of them. Exercise is excellent at clearing brain clutter, triggering the release of endorphins, and reducing stress and anxiety. The result? A happier, more productive, and energetic you. You don’t have to go to the gym or pump iron. Go for a walk, dance around your house, do some jumping jacks, play with your dog — just move your body!

15. Fuel your body with good foods

I’m all about that first cup of coffee but don’t rely on sugar and caffeine to fuel your body. Sure, you may have an energy spike immediately after, but you’ll also likely crash. Choose to eat a well-balanced diet of whole foods over fast foods. You must fuel your body with quality food and adequate water to have the energy to go about your day!


16. Play adds to your energy levels

Brene Brown’s research found one of the commonalities in people who exhibit wholehearted (read: energetic, engaged) living is that they play. Play doesn’t have to be overly formal, it doesn’t have to involve balls or a team, and it doesn’t have to result in winners and losers. Play can be almost anything, as long as it’s something you want to do, find enjoyable, and allows you to lose track of time and just have fun.



We all know people who seem to exude energy. These are the folks who are full of vitality and enthusiasm. They can’t wait to dive into the day and make getting everything done seem easy. When you go by them in the office hallway, they have a pep in their step and a smile on their face. You might gaze at these highly energetic people with wonder over the sheer volume of tasks they accomplish during the day while attending school events, church, and their book club. These are the people you probably aspire to be like. The ones who give energy rather than zap it.

Stoke the fires of productivity, efficiency, and positivity to cultivate an empowered and nourishing life. Doing this will help you manage your energy so that even if you have a lot on your plate, you avoid feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.


So, stay positive! Don't let people drain you of that powerful life force you have! Vanquish them, and you'll discover you're immune to feeling exhausted and burned out and you'll live the happy life you've always wanted!

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Debra Smouse is a life coach and author whose work has been published in TIME, Huffington Post, MSN, Psychology Today, and more.