No matter which type of energy vampire you're dealing with, you're allowed to walk away. Many of us find this really hard to do. We're afraid of being thought of as impolite; we don't want to offend people. But there are plenty of ways to remove yourself from a killing conversation. When leaving isn't an option, you can still maintain your energy level by making a few minor adjustments.
Recognize the Signs
One of the first things to do is to recognize when you're being drained, and that begins with tuning in to your physical reactions. Is there a tightening in your chest when a certain person enters the conversation? Do you feel tired when you hang up the phone after speaking with someone? Does your head ache, or do you feel what I call "slimed" when another guest at a cocktail party starts talking to you?
Take a Deep Breath
The moment you feel zapped—or hemmed in, or stressed out—I recommend taking a breath. Breathing is a wonderful way to center yourself. Just follow the breath and tell yourself that you know what's happening and you can deal with it. It's important to remember our individual power. I know from working with patients that we can lose it easily. The minute somebody comes in who's bossy or blaming, we feel diminished and tense up. If we can focus on the breath, or on an image of a striking sunset or a view from a mountaintop, the tension will drift away.