Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.
I can imagine how frustrating and distressing this situation must be for you. You're clearly an active and motivated person and it must be very frustrating not being able to shut off your thinking, or racing thoughts. You've seen the connection with your menstrual cycle, but still not being able to "turn the racing thoughts off" is a problem.
I'd like to recommend to you mindfulness meditation. The principle of this type of meditation (and others also) is to NOT try to turn your thoughts off against your will, but to become more harmonious with your thinking pattern, including the racing thoughts.
Mindfulness meditation has become a standard treatment modality in psychology over the last 15 years as well as being part of Eastern practices. Psychology has studied the techniques and integrated them into our treatment of anxiety and other mood disorders as well as other problems. So it is something that I think you will find useful whether meditation is something you are naturally interested in or something you integrate to deal with this problem specifically.
Also, at the end of my answer I'm going to give you a technique you can use on your own to give you a bit of relief from the racing thoughts right away even as you begin to learn about mindfulness meditation. It's not a cure, but you can use it over and over for a little relief. The psychologist who brought mindfulness meditation into psychology more than any other person is Jon Kabat-Zinn. His first book is the one I want you to look at: Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Pain, Stress, and Illness. Here's the Amazon page for it and you can look at some of his others there as well:
I want you to look at this video of him. If you stay with the video and listen carefully, I think you will hear much that will feel relevant for you:
His most popular book is Wherever You Go, There You Are. It's a true classic; I think they just did an anniversary edition of it. So, enjoy getting to know Kabat-Zinn and learning to not fight against your racing thoughts but, instead, feeling more in harmony with your mind and being able to slow down your thoughts naturally.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
Now, I want to give you a tool to use for when there is anxiety or racing thoughts. Here are instructions on a therapeutic protocol called Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). It's really quite easy to do almost anywhere. My patients suffering from racing thoughts, when I teach them PMR at first are amazed how simple it is and that it is a psychological protocol. It was first used in the 1920s! Since then, of course, it has been refined and many studies have been done showing its effectiveness. You will practice PMR at first when you don't wake up with an attack so that you will be familiar with it. I want you to practice the PMR at least 5-6 times before an attack or feeling acute anxiety. Why? Because when you're in the throes of anxiety, you will only remember to do something you are very familiar with it. So practicing 5-6 times is really a minimum. And this is good also for just general anxiety without panic attacks and for feeling as though you are in a dark hole of depression as well.
I want to stress the importance of breathing as well. Part of the physiology of what is happening to you in a panic attack is that your breathing is getting shallower. This reduces the oxygen in your blood to your brain. That increases the anxiety reaction, which strengthens the attack and you are in a vicious cycle! Not good. So breathing is the primary tool. I have found in my practice that learning breathing techniques can be helpful. But some of my patients are not interested in learning more than one thing at the beginning, so I have found that just reminding you to BREATHE deeply at the same time you are doing PMR is almost as good. If you are willing to take a yoga class and learn breathing techniques, that's the best. But, breathing deeply with your PMR will help. So, we're ready for learning PMR. I want you to print my instructions below my signature and have a copy in each of the rooms of your home where you may be when you have an attack. And again, you need to practice this easy technique at least 5-6 times as soon as you can. It needs to become as natural to you as breathing. Ah, remember breathing?
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Quickly focusing on each group one after the other, with practice you can relax your body like ‘liquid relaxation’ poured on your head and it flowed down and completely covered you. You can use progressive muscle relaxation to quickly de-stress any time.
What You Need:
Hi. I do practice yoga. . . in fact, I just started and do it 4 times a week, so I do understand your instructions, however, after the relaxation, the racing thoughts come back. I like the idea of learning not to fight against the racing thoughts. . . can you say more about that?