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Beating Depression

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Many people that struggle with depression have tried a myriad of ways to manage it:

Some have tried the frequently suggested “boot strap” approach. You know, pick yourself up by the bootstraps and forge ahead. As if willing your way to work or school will cause the depression to just go away.

Now I am not suggesting that moving forward in a determined fashion isn’t a good idea. In fact, I believe that it can help and am a huge proponent of putting your best effort on the table. What I am suggesting is that there might be an overall better way. A way that you may not have not have considered as viable for you (0r your spouse or family member that struggles with depression). What is it?

It involves Healing Outdoors.

It involves making a concerted effort to be outside in Utah’s wondrous outdoors. It involves actually enjoying it.

Understanding that depression is difficult to manage or treat, I provide these 5 hopeful ways to beat depression outdoors.

#1) Get Outside in the Garden and Yard

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Couples Hack. 8 Ways Couples That Hike Together, Stay Together (And are Much Happier Too)

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Okay, it may seem a bit obvious that getting outdoors with your spouse or significant other will strengthen your relationship. Bring you closer together. Absolutely ramp up your closeness. However, when was the last time you made an effort to hike with him alone? Backpack with her without the kids? Truly connect in a way that feels deep and REAL. Something you want to repeat?

It’s been awhile, huh!

Getting outdoors with him will not only build your relationship, it will build YOU. Here are 8 reasons why putting hiking back on your relationship table is so critical.

1) Hiking will make you closer. Getting outside in nature will make you feel closer, period. I’ve talked with couples after their weekend hike or backpack trip. They absolutely believe that getting out on the trail brought them closer. Sometimes it’s the roaring creek they crossed carefully together. Other times it’s waking up together in a tent in the Uinta Mountains. The examples are endless. Although it’s a subjective feeling, couples tell me in counseling sessions that it just felt awesome.

2) Hiking clears your head. Couples that spend too much time in their head (and you know who you are) feel distracted. Disconnected. Longing for closeness. Hitting the trail allows you to focus on nature’s amazing beauty. It also allows you to focus on each other in ways that the movie or dinner just CAN’T accomplish. Distractions fade, and the intensity of focus on each other increases. In fact, you may actually forget about the office for a few hours. Or hopefully for the entire, connective weekend. Nice!

3) Hiking makes intimacy better. One huge benefit to exercise in the backcountry is better and more consistent intimacy. Couples that hit the trail together find each other more appealing. More attractive. More interesting. It should come as no surprise that their interest in being more affectionate also increases. And who doesn’t want better sex in their relationship or marriage? Who doesn’t want to feel more attractive to him or her? Makes sense!

4) Hiking is a crazy cheap date. Finding time to date your spouse is one thing. Actually coming up with the money to pay for it is quite another. Couples find hiking very inexpensive. It’s really the cost of gas and a few snacks. And with so many trails available in the Salt Lake City area, finding a trail is simply not the problem. So why not ditch the movie and grab him/her and hit the beautiful mountain trail!

5) Hiking will make you so much healthier. As someone that has hiked for many years, I know firsthand that the benefits of hiking are truly endless and so amazing. Although I like the gym, I would much rather hit the trail than hit the treadmill for cardio. When we hike on a consistent basis, we not only become healthier, we absolutely ramp up our immune system. We don’t get sick as often. We don’t feel rundown or lethargic. The apathy in our marriage just disappears. We appreciate each other more. Sweet!

6) Hiking absolutely begets more hiking. Now you may be saying to yourself, how do I get started? The answer is found in many sports commercials. We just do it! Further, how do you start anything worth while in your life? Recall when you were considering going back to school? You likely laid out a plan and actually followed through with that plan. Hiking consistently is very much like going back to school. It’s about building a better you. It is so true that hiking really does beget MORE HIKING. Give it a try!

7) Couples that hike together are happier. As a family therapist that has counseled couples for many years, I’m constantly looking for ways to help couples improve their relationships. Searching for ideas that will get their couple relationship to the next level of connection or affection. The answer more often than not is to actually spend TIME together. Thus, couples that hike together not only stay together, but they do so because they’re happier. Hiking or running on the trail simply enhances closeness. When we feel better about ourselves, we feel better about our relationships. It really is that simple.

8) Hiking is a great inoculation for marriage problems. It is my experience that it’s usually not the big things that make couple relationships disconnect. It’s the little things over-time that do it. Little things such as inattention. Disconnection. Or the oft mentioned boredom, that produces disaffection in relationships. When we hike together couples absolutely inoculate their relationship from these fairly common marriage pitfalls.

Where do I go from here? Imagine hiking in seemingly endless fields of wildflowers with your awesome husband. Imagine sitting by a cold mountain stream as the water rushes by you and your wife. Can you picture seeing a moose in an alpine meadow as you take pictures safely with your digital zoom camera? And can you imagine going on a winter hike or snowshoe adventure with him or her? Or hitting the Cottonwood Canyons in October for the amazing splendor of Autumn Aspen in Utah?

If any of these hit home with you, then you’re ready for the next step. Actually getting out for a hiking adventure in our amazing northern Utah backcountry. The Wasatch Mountains are peppered with trails for all hiking and experience levels. It doesn’t matter where you live, it only matters that you’re willing to get out there. Try it. You will absolutely love it. And your couple relationship will too!

To schedule an appointment with Michael, call Wasatch Family Therapy at 801.944.4555

Michael Boman, LCSW, is a Healing Outdoors expert in Cottonwood Heights. Michael schedules Healing Outdoors therapy sessions on select local trails. If you would like to learn more about Healing Outdoors and if it’s the right counseling approach for you, Michael can be reached via email at MichaelBoman@Wasatchfamilytherapy.com.

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4 Reasons Why Successful Men Make Horrible Husbands

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We’ve all heard the statement, “find a successful man, and marry him. You’ll live happily ever after. And you’ll have everything a girl can desire!”

But is that actually really TRUE?

So true that you would be willing to invest your entire future on this fairy tale belief you learned as a child?

Here are 4 startling reasons that should give you pause. And if you’re already married to a successful man, reason to shed a concerned tear or two:

1- He Loves His Office

Now this one may seem a bit obvious. He loves his career, and he’s good at it (if you wondering, ask him and he will likely tell you with some bravado about how good he really is). As a result, he just has to spend long hours at the office. You’ve even told yourself that he’s doing it for you and the children. But is that really true? And does it make you feel any better about your future?

2- Daddy Issues

While the workaholic thing may have seemed rather obvious, struggles with daddy may come as a bit of a shock. Does this successful man that appears to have all the bases covered struggle with daddy issues? Yup. Your handsome husband that seems to be the rock that no one can penetrate? Yes indeed! He is likely using excessive work hours to hide from his past and the deep feelings of loss he experienced from his disconnected father.

3- He Doesn’t Like Himself

Although he won’t probably cop to this, all that charm that he seems to be able to call on at parties may not be real. His ability to close those business deals may be just a cover. Successful men often are unable to look inside. Why? Because they don’t like what’s inside or they’ve never really looked there. They’re also fearful that others will discover that they’re really not all that secure. As a result, they must work harder to cover their insecurities and fears that they will ultimately fail.

4- The Stage Sucks

Being a successful man comes at a cost. This cost often shows up in how he treats his family. Being on the stage requires that he gives ALL to things that ultimately don’t really matter. While wives and partners want his total attention, he can never really provide it. He’s constantly thinking of bettering himself through work. The problem is that he’s like the gym addict who believes that one more hour on the treadmill will make him feel better about himself. The perplexing challenge is that when you don’t like yourself on the inside, all the sculpted abs in the world will never be good enough. EVER!

You may actually be asking yourself, “who would want a man with these challenging issues?” while simultaneously thinking, “you just described my husband.” Well, what’s a woman, wife, or partner to do?

Three Things That Can Really Help

1- Get off the Treadmill!

Success is like a treadmill. It’s quite easy to get on one but difficult to get off. Being on the treadmill of success will never produce true happiness. Getting off that treadmill requires concerted effort on the part of the success addicted male. This focus includes learning to live a balanced life. One with healthy boundaries that become rock-solid as they’re gradually implemented. One that includes consistently putting his wife or partner highest on his list of critical priorities. Nice!

2- Seek Counseling

Searching out a solid therapist with experience in working with overachieving males may seem obvious. The challenge is that it will also seem weak to a success-saturated man. The daddy issues mentioned earlier likely included the “success at all-costs” mantra so common in men. Counseling that includes a huge focus on putting the past beyond the “rear view mirror” is critical.

3- Look North NOT South!

In other words, look to the future, not the past! Most relationships where successful men avoid key responsibilities is that they will continue to hide at work until reality sets in. That awful moment where what really matters in life has passed them by. Don’t allow it! You can’t change yesterday, but you can certainly change today. And more importantly, tomorrow and your future by being home and totally “present” tonight!

Michael Boman, LCSW is a clinical therapist at Wasatch Family Therapy in Salt Lake City. He has many years of experience assisting men and their wives/partners get their relationships back on a healthy track. You can schedule an appointment with Michael by clicking here. http://www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com/archives/doctor/michael-boman-lcsw

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The 5 Best Kept Secrets of Marriage Relationship Self-Care

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We’ve all been there. We believe our relationship with our spouse (or partner) is going south. Yet we’re too busy to give it the time that it needs. We’ll get to it. We really will!

The problem is, we never seem to actually “get to it.”

And if we ever really do find the time to get to it, we’ve become so much like angry “roommates” that even talking about improvement leads to yet another argument. Ouch!

Here are the 5 best kept marriage relationship secrets to get your relationship game back where it needs to be.

(These examples are not gender specific. Please swap male/female where needed)

1- Self-Care for You

Since you can’t change your husband, you need to work on changing you. To do otherwise is like having a bee land on your hand and swatting at your husbands face to get rid of the hornet. You’ve solved nothing and likely got a nasty sting in the process. Change can feel as painful as a surprise bee sting. Take back your self-care life gradually by beginning TODAY. You deserve it!

2- Ditch the Past

Relationships that live in the past repeat the past. If you truly desire a better relationship, stop it! An example is when a wife believes in her heart that “…he will never understand me.” Or “he will never meet my need for ‘_______’ (fill in the blank).” This belief will only perpetuate itself with hurt feelings. A much better way to manage the past is live in the PRESENT. Tell him what you need. Expect him to step up to the relationship plate by trusting that he will do it. Risk and actually ASK him. It really works!

3- Be the Boundary King (or Queen)!

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3 Sure Fire Ways to Destroy Your 2nd Marriage!

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Popular wisdom would claim that 2nd marriages succeed more often than first marriages. “Hey, I’ve learned from my past mistakes. I’m smarter.” Or “we’ll do better!”

Sadly, this absolutely just isn’t true.

Based on what I’ve observed for 17 years in working with couples, I’ve come of with 3 ways that will absolutely destroy your second marriage. Please take a moment to learn from other’s bad choices to make this marriage be your Last marriage.

  1. Let the Comparison Shopping Begin

(These examples are not gender specific. Please swap male/female where needed)

Okay so you may not actually be shopping for a new spouse. But let’s face it. You’ve probably noticed qualities in other men that are appealing. Qualities you don’t believe your new spouse has. Talents you thought were there when you said “yes” for the second time. Now you’re not so sure at all.

Stop it! Comparison shopping for another spouse in a new marriage is like buyers remorse with a new car. Yes that other car at the competitions dealership was awesome. The price seemed right. The luxury features appealing. Yet not quite right! Remember how a month later you were soooo glad you’d purchased the right car? Relieved you didn’t overact? Second marriage’s can be very similar. Give it time. Stop comparison shopping even if only figurative in nature. Catch your awesome new husband doing something right. Like the paycheck. Like the living room he vacuumed. Like the “spilled milk” he cleaned up. Oh, btw, it’s all paltry spilled milk in comparison. Get over it. Don’t look back!

  1. Ditch the Ex!

Not only is moving on difficult, it can seem impossible not to experience at least some of these damaging examples:

The EX                                                                                   NEW Wife

Bugged you! Because she kept the house spotless                Bugs You! Because she doesn’t clean enough

Nagged you! To keep the yard immaculate                            Nags You! To spend more time with her

Hounded you! For more sex. Better sex!                                Ignores You! She’s too tired for sex

Watched! Every penny of the budget                                      Spends! Every penny of the budget

Reminded you! To pick up the kids from school                   Reminds you! That they’re YOUR kids

Some of these sound true? Maybe even all too correct? If so, please remember that the grass is NEVER greener on the other side of the fence (or in your previous marriage). You must ditch the ex-wife. Move on completely! Focus on your new marriage. Recognize that no one is perfect.

Not even You!

  1. When Two Worlds Collide (Or the War of Two Worlds)

Immediately following the new marriage, two family planets are on a course to collide. While the couple has anticipated some challenges with the “blended family,” they don’t foresee any REAL trouble. Most new marriages aren’t equipped for managing problems, let alone the explosion.

Going into a second marriage unequipped is like having a pilot flying into LAX without an air traffic controller to guide him safely home. Approaching potentially volatile airspace without a trained guide experienced in acquiring a smooth landing. A safe landing. In fact, even the mere mention of such a circumstance sounds ridiculous in the extreme.

However, the problem is that most 2nd marriages don’t have a Relationship air traffic controller. Someone to infuse insight into the day to day challenges that are common in almost all new relationships. Each person enters the new marriage with tender feelings. Very likely still stinging from the agonizing pain of their first divorce. As a result, they fall-back on their own often tainted experiences. Experiences that exacerbated the problems in marriage number one that resulted in divorce. Ouch!

What Can Help?

* If you’re reading this and recently divorced, absolutely eschew new relationship(s) for at least one year preferably two. Give yourself time to heal. Casual dating is fine. Hanging out is great. Getting serious will totally put you in a position to simply repeat divorce #1.

* If you’re reading this and you’re in a struggling 2nd marriage, absolutely seek help. Seek out a trusted bishop or clergy member with sage advice. Consider a therapist with many years of experience helping those struggling in the marital realm. But! Please don’t think that this will just pass. I’m overreacting. It likely won’t JUST change.

* Most of all, take care of YOU. Make sure that you’re giving yourself great self-care time. Reach out to trusted (and healthy!) friends. Give yourself time. Space. And if you are recently “single,” totally avoid the friends that say “the best way to heal from your divorce is to jump right back in!”

No, it really isn’t!

Michael Boman, LCSW, is a relationship, marriage, and Healing Outdoors expert at Wasatch Family Therapy in Cottonwood Heights, UT.

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14 Ways to Make Your Valentine’s Day an Absolute Heart Stopper (& Stunning Sex Starter!)

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Want to make Valentine’s Day more than just dinner? More than just Victoria’s Secret? Make it so “spot on” that you want to repeat it next year? Here’s how!

Go for a walk together

Begin this Valentine’s Day early with a brisk walk outside together. Hold hands. Appreciate your relationship.

Take her to breakfast

Go to your favorite breakfast spot for a quick bite (McDonald’s won’t do here). Totally get into the feeling that this is Valentine’s Day. A day of love. A day for lovers. A day for your relationship.

Go to the gym together

Hit the gym together. Make sure that you’re noticing each other. Making eye contact. Being a bit flirty. Tell him he looks awesome. Tell her she is awesome!

Shower together

Once home, and with privacy assured, shower off the sweat from the gym. Appreciate the closeness. The “eye candy!”

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NEW YEARS HACK! Making 2017 Your Best Year Yet!

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Want To Make 2017 Totally Rock? Toss out those awful resolutions. Set Solid Goals Instead!

I find it absolutely crazy each year that we set resolutions. We do so with vigor and zest believing that this will actually result in success.  We promise to do better than last year. We swear that we’ll lose weight. Be nicer to our co-worker. Stop being lazy or procrastinate.  When we find that our New Year’s resolve failed miserably, we can feel like a failure.

Seeking Help! What Works in Setting Goals?

Research shows that many people who set New Year’s resolutions have bailed on them by February 1st.  Many more waffle by March 1st.  Wow! Terrible success rate.  What actually works?  I provide these 5 simple and very doable ways of making 2017 rock for you.

#1) Set Reachable Goals! Many people set Mount Everest type goals that are absolutely not going to happen. These goals include losing 30 pounds by March 1st, or getting a 30% raise before the end of the year. This just doesn’t work. I would suggest that rather than reaching for Mount Everest why not stretch for the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains? Once you’ve reached your doable goals at lower elevations, then you can set more challenging goals to build on. Something akin to reaching Mount Olympus east of Salt Lake City. The critical key is to make your goals doable.  It actually makes a ton of sense and shockingly it works!

#2) Make Your New Year’s Goals Exciting! I find it shocking that we set goals that are boring. Mundane. Borderline dumb. And then wonder why we don’t want to do them. Surprise!  Goals such as exercising. Becoming healthier. Or losing weight are laudable…yet pretty dang boring! Why not add some zest to your goals. For example, if you find going to the gym boring, don’t be surprised if you sabotage your goal right away. Yet if you like to hike and set a goal to hit the backcountry trails 2-3 days a week, don’t be surprised when you actually look forward to exercising. It actually makes so much sense.

#3) Set Your Goals For the Year! This may seem tough but it absolutely works. I’m not suggesting that each goal must go for a full year. Rather, break your goals into 3 to 6 month intervals. At the 6 month time frame, you simply fine tune or update your goal to prepare you for the next 3 to 6 months.  This takes you out of feeling pressure to perform. Perform. And perform. At the 6 month mark, if you’re rocking one or two specific goals, continue the goals. If not, rethink your goals. Reset them. Make them work better for you. Believe me, it works!

#4) Stay Away From Resolutions! To reiterate my earlier key point, setting New Year’s resolutions absolutely doesn’t work.  Consistency works. Goals work. Moving forward works. Finding a work out partner or buddy works. Get it? Please don’t buy into the “quick fixes” the infomercials often promise…and with very little effort. Buy into setting goals that will have you making steady improvement toward achieving your goals.

#5) Revisit Your Goals Regularly In reviewing your goals, build in reward(s) for reaching even the most basic of triumphs. In fact, make sure to absolutely celebrate your successes and often. If your goal is to visit the gym 3 times per week during February, awesome! However, if you manage 1-2 times per week celebrate the awesome success. Not the “I’m just too lazy and will never achieve my goals” vilification!  That’s negative self-talk that will get you nowhere for sure…and the subject of another blog in the future.

Where Do I Go From Here?

You may actually be telling yourself, “that makes total sense Michael but I still feel overwhelmed with the idea of ongoing exercise.”  Thank you for being honest! People often feel this way. Take a deep breath. Please try to keep a good and healthy perspective.  Many of us have heard the wise advice to start small and gradually increase your workout energy effort.  Exactly! Even more important could be finding a great workout partner to help motivate you. Get you over the hump of negativity.

Make sure and be extra kind to yourself in your quest to reach your 2017 goals.  You’re going to blow it once in a while. Expect it. You’re human. That’s actually quite natural. What’s not natural is to simply bail on your goals because you’re not being perfect.  Simply pick yourself up and move forward.

Remember! Consistency, excitement, and an awesome workout partner are all recipes for success.  May you be your own great chef this year in your healthy recipe for success!!!

Michael Boman, LCSW is a relationship, marriage, and healing outdoors expert working at Wasatch Family Therapy in Salt Lake City, UT. He is accepting new clients who want to begin their journey of a healthier and happier lifestyle in 2017.

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Seven Savvy Secrets Wives Absolutely Need to Know about their Husbands

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Do you ever find understanding your husband somewhat like predicting the current political climate? Explaining the presidential election to your son or daughter? If so, you’re not alone. Many women find their husband baffling, if not outright mysterious. If this describes your current feelings, here are seven secrets that can really help you understand him more deeply.

#1) He Really Does Love It When You Notice Him

Really notice him. How he looks. How handsome he is. How much he means to you. How cute he is in those nice fitting jeans. Although he won’t tell you this, he totally loves it when you show him attention. Men want to believe they’re handsome and desirable. Desirable as your very awesome husband. Help him believe that by noticing him often.

#2) It Really Is NOT All About Sex

Although his actions may seem to tell you otherwise, he doesn’t have sex on his mind 24/7. Just as women aren’t emotionally focused constantly (stereotype!), men aren’t sexually focused every moment as well. In fact, men crave affection almost as much as women do. Men in Salt Lake City love to be hugged. Kissed. Held. And! Men love to cuddle closely with “no strings attached” in bed. Truly! He isn’t always hoping that cuddling will lead to making love either. Ask him. But ready to be surprised by his answer.

#3) He’s Like A Teen Girl Emotionally Inside!  

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