Let $0<\alpha<1/2$. We show that that the mixing time of a continuous-time Markov chain on a finite state space is about as large as the largest expected hitting time of a subset of the state space with stationary measure $\geq \alpha$. Suitably modified results hold in discrete time and/or without the reversibility assumption. The key technical tool in the proof is the construction of random set $A$ such that the hitting time of $A$ is a light-tailed stationary time for the chain. We note that essentially the same results were obtained independently by Peres and Sousi.
"Mixing and hitting times for finite Markov chains." Electron. J. Probab. 17 1 - 12, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1214/EJP.v17-2274