Thich Nhat Hanh’s 10 Tips for Everyday Mindfulness

Holden QiGong
3 min readJan 9, 2024

About a month before Thich Nhat Hanh’s peaceful passing in January of ’22, my mom gifted me his book, Peace is Every Step. (This is Max, one of the Holden QiGong email writers.)

It was the first book I’ve read by him, and I was floored by how actionable and straightforward his advice was.

So I thought, “Why not honor him by sharing some of his mindfulness tips in the book? Surely he would appreciate the continuous spread of timeless wisdom.”

In honor of this wise and wonderful Buddhist monk, here are 10 tips from Thich Nhat Hanh for everyday mindfulness from his book, Peace is Every Step:

  • As you breathe in, say to yourself, “Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.” And then, “Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.” After some time, shorten it to “in” and “out.” Keep your mind on your breath and you’ll begin to feel more peaceful and gentle.
  • As a beginning meditator, you may want to head to the countryside to meditate in peace to avoid being swept away by the world’s chaos. The fresh and silent wilderness will help you remain in awareness.
  • Remember you can breathe anywhere, from your office chair, your car, or even the grocery store.
  • Adjust your position if you’re uncomfortable during your seated meditation. Remember, we meditate to cultivate peace and joy, not physical strain. When we experience pain or numbness, our body’s trying to tell us something.
  • Use a bell to focus on mindfulness. There aren’t many Buddhist temples in the West. However, there are many churches. So when the bell rings, I say, “Listen, listen.” Then breathe out and say, “This wonderful song brings me back to my true self.” If you don’t have a bell, use any sound you’d prefer to remind you to pause.
  • Eat mindfully. To aid in mindfulness during meals, consider eating silently from time to time. I don’t recommend silent meals every day, just every so often. Also, refrain from talking about other people’s shortcomings, and instead, focus your awareness on family and food.
  • Walk simply to walk, not to arrive. Walking is a form of meditation. As you walk, become aware of your breathing and be present in the moment. When we take each step peacefully and happily, we are working toward peace and happiness for all humankind.
  • Remove the barrier between “practice” and “non-practice.” When you meditate for half an hour per day, that time should be counted toward the entire 24 hour period. Likewise, one smile and one breath should benefit the entire day.
  • Be aimless. The idea here is not to put something in front of you and rush toward it, as is common in the West. Everything is already right in front of you. Don’t focus on arriving anywhere. Take peaceful steps instead.
  • Set up a “breathing room” in your home. Decorate it simply and not too bright. You may want to add a bell, a few cushions or chairs, and a vase of flowers. Every time you feel upset or need a moment to yourself, go to that room and breathe mindfully.

Rest in peace, TNH.

Max with The Holden QiGong Team

www.HoldenQiGong.com

P.S. After Thich Nhat Hanh passed, a member of our team shared another quote of his. It’s about tea and the present moment:

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing towards the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”

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