It's commonly accepted that we have five senses; the sense of hearing, the sense of sight, the sense of smell, the sense of taste, and the sense of touch. Eastern philosophies include a sixth; the mind.
Throughout each and every moment of every day our senses are being impinged upon. Whether we're aware of it or not, our clothing moving against our skin triggers the sense of touch, the busy world filled with constant sound stimulates our sense of hearing, our eyes taking in all of the wonder of the world (so long as they're open) excites our sense of sight, enjoying food and beverages throughout the day arouses are sense of taste, and taking in all of the fragrances that surround us stimulates the sense of smell. Additionally we are bombarded by thoughts of the past and future, giving rise to our sense of mind.
Consequently the nervous system remains constantly stimulated, sending signals throughout the brain and body releasing hormones and chemicals to make sense of and interact with the world.
These processes, while completely natural, become exhausting.
And while we endure what is necessary throughout our busy, often stressful work days, we come home to "relax" by setting ourselves in front flashing noise boxes (i.e. computers and televisions) that further excite the nervous system.
Eventually we feel run down, overwhelmed, stressed out, and exhausted. We then turn to stimulants to come up with the energy to make it through the day, which in turn tax the adrenal system, weakening our ability to healthily respond to stress, exacerbating the cycle.
While making lifestyle changes that would eliminate extraneous stimulation might prove helpful, it's not so much that we have to remove activities from our lives, but rather add in one very important activity.
What activity?...well the answer's right under our noses...
Setting aside time each and every day to reboot, to take a seat in a quiet room, withdrawn from all stimulation, to observe the root of our being...the breath.
It's game over without it, yet as important as it is to our moment to moment survival, due to its relative subtle nature, we take it for granted. How often in a day do we stop to say "yep, still breathing."
When we commit to sit still and quiet, we concentrate our mind on the breath as it enters and exits the body. The mind surely wonders, to thoughts, sounds, smells, etc...at some point we become aware it's wondered and gently bring it back to the task at hand; to simply sit & breathe.
This process gives the nervous system a break, which it really appreciates, and in turn gives back a more relaxed, focused mind & body.
When we adopt a daily seated meditation practice, we're committing to our mental well being, which in turn translates into physical well being.
So why sit & breathe?...for our well being.