Bears: Constitutionally Cooler & Damper

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nosce te ipsum - know thyself

One of the most extraordinary things about life is its ability to be endlessly creative. We can see this all around us, including in how every human being that has ever lived is completely unique! You who are reading this are one of a kind and so, of course, is each of your friends, your family, and everyone you know. The complexity within life, and each one of us, that allows for such individuality is something truly incredible, it is unlimited.

We set about categorising each other, therefore, at the peril of losing sight of this everyday wonder. Just as soon as we divide each other by age, race, nationality etc. we can lose the awareness of what matters most; namely that the endless creativity of life is equally expressed in the indivduality of every single one of our lives, that no one person is better or worse than another, and that we are all the same in being different.

So, why bring constitutions into the picture? It is to better understand, and work with, the inherent nature that underlies that individuality. Throughout history, all cultures have come to a similar recognition that, despite the obvious evidence of our differences, there are still recurring themes that show how we tend to be relatively hotter or cooler and, at the same time, relatively dryer or damper than one another.

The value of this understanding is that it gives such useful insights, including into what kinds of foods, habits and, when needed, medicines can form the surest foundation for our most precious possession of all; our health...

The Bear Personality

I begin by focusing on just a few personality traits that have been chosen to demonstrate some key themes that manifest in the Bear constitution however, it must be understood that these are only a small part of the whole and that none of this is meant to take anything away from your own, unlimited individuality. So long as we understand each other on that crucial point, do read on...


One of the notable characteristics of the Bear constitution is that, somewhere in their complex personalities, will always be a marked quality of 'intensity'. This may simply show itself in the depth of their reactions and relationships, or it may manifest in the form of a chosen life-path, or it may reveal itself in something that they care about very deeply. The subject of their intensity may change from one chapter of their life to the next but, whatever it is, they are more likely to be 'all in' than others, even those who might share the same interest or pursuit.

Most Bears eventually cotton on to this aspect of themselves as being a bit different and, increasingly as they age, many hide their true nature behind a seemingly cool exterior. This is understandable because, let's face it, most of the world is quick to pass judgement and our passions reveal our vulnerabilities, i.e. what we care about the most is what can get to us the most too...

That 'intensity' is always there somewhere , in a Bear, but it's hard to describe it further without using specific examples so, if you who are reading this are a Bear, just think of something you are 'into', by choice, and then compare yourself with other people who are kind of into the same thing, there will probably be more than a small difference and then you will get exactly what I am talking about, personally.

This quality is, by the way, one of the aspects of being more 'cool' by Nature. It is not in the least that a cooler constitution has less energy than a hotter one, rather that the direction of that energy goes more inwardly than outwardly. When you combine this with dampness, which is a nature that, like water, wants to make close connections to things and join up wiith them, you get the Bear. Cooler plus damper equals plenty of intensitty.


No doubt loyalty can be important to all people, it is extremely important to Bears! Make friends with a Bear and you may have a friend for life. Bears are typically willing to do what it takes to earn trust and it means a great deal to them that others are trustworthy too. Like the other cool constitution, the EB, Bears are unlikely to have a large social circle whereas it is quite natural for them to make exceptionally loyal bonds with just a few friends or family members.

The strength of loyalty is its great potential to help a person commit to a person or a path and see it through. The weakness of it is that Bears can be loyal to a fault because, if they become fixated on a certain idea or life-path, it may take trouble of catastrophic proportions before they are ready to admit they've been stuck in the wrong groove and so be ready to let go and start again.

Similarly, most Bears have a certain stubborn streak that make them formidable opponents in any kind of disagreement and practically unmoveable when someone tries to push them in a direction they don't want to go.If you have a Bear in your life that you have tried to make do something they don't want to do, you will know exactly what I mean. Unless you want to exhaust yourself with trustration, you need to let them find their own way. Bears love comfort too much to stay in a bad place indefinitely, plus they are smart in their own way, they'll work it out by themselves, eventually!

It can be very helpful for the Bear to recognise and understand their innate qualities of intensity and loyalty because, if they work out what it is that they really want in life, they have an excellent chance of achieving it. The old saying 'be careful what you wish for' is completely true for Bears. It may take a quick mind and a light heart to let go of all the things that are holding them back, but once they get clear on what they want, there can be no stopping them.

Cave & Forest

The combination of qualities in a Bear of their nature to be inwardly intense but strongly connected to others, creates an interesting and sometimes challenging mix and it can be seen that all Bears must learn how to live in two worlds, one that I call the 'cave' and the other the 'forest'.

The 'cave' is usuallly represented by the home or bedroom, but it can also be the being within the body. The cave is where the Bear does not need to be 'on' or 'up'. They can relax, go inwards, and find some peace. The cave can potentially be a warm, dry, calm, comforting and comfortable place, or it can be a cold, dark, dank, solitary and miserable place. The difference usually has little to do with external factors but everything to do with the state of the Bears' mind, how willing they are to be in their cave and what they do when they are in there.

Bears have to understand that they simply must regularly spend time in their cave, that it is not a place of punishment they have to go when they are too tired to deal with the world, but a place of reward, a place of comfort, rest and relaxation where they can feel warm and good. From such a small shift in awareness, a tranformation can occur.

The forest is the world, it is the workplace, the social circle, the turning up and turning on. For all that they tend to have a rich internal existence, most Bears are not in the least bit loners by nature, they like people and are frequently drawn to jobs or lifestyles where they can help others. The forest is where the Bear gets to talk, connect, make some noise, make some money.

Many Bears end up far preferring the forest and wanting to stay there, in which case they inevitably burn out and start hating their forest world. This is a world that they must come into, and then leave again, over and over. The path of health and happiness for a Bear is one where they learn to easily go between these two worlds, not to pick a side, not to get stuck, but to go along with their natural cycles and to understand that the only true certainty in life is change.


As mentioned earlier, Bears are remarkably loyal people for whom relationships tend to be extremely important. Conequently, many have this side of their lives working particularly well.

Equally however, by their nature, a Bear will have strong feelings about the people they live or work with and, if one or more of those relationships is not going well, and the problem is not being dealt with, then things can get very bad indeed.

There are an endless range of possibilites that could be discussed here, so I only want to focus on what can be seen to be the hardest emotion for most Bears to deal with in relationship, namely anger, or 'frustration' to use the more polite word for it. Inside every Bear is a soft, cuddly creature who wants nothing more than to make love, have fun and be comfortable and well fed. Unfortunately, for many Bears, this state of affairs can be about as far from their day to day reality as its possible to go. Especially if they have not learned how to deal with their frustrations when they arise, they can grow and fester into something that cuts them off from the people they are close to, and from finding peace in their inner 'cave'. If those frustrations get directed internally, which they will if they are not dealt with, then their mood can get very low indeed.

Learning how to deal with anger is not easy. There's no herb for it and drugs or other substances that are taken to numb bad feelings will only make things worse in the long run. It is hard, but not impossible, to change this, the biggest obstacle for most is simply not expressing themselves. Bears can be bad brooders, they can stew on things overlong and then come down suddenly and unexpectedly hard over something that is nowhere near as bad as they make it.

Many Bears need to learn how to blurt rather than stew, Of course, this goes against the opinion of society at large, which strongly disapproves of emotional outbursts, but it is far better to lose your cool than to lose the chance to get things in the open to sort them out. Everything is better out than in.

There is no one way to resolve anger any more than there is for any of life's challenges, everyone has their own path to walk and to work things out. That said, if the anger is particularly coming up in your core relationship then, if both are turly committed to making things work, there is a potent strategy of open expression and reflective listening that has been seen to always help, it is discussed in detail here


Food Matters

Food is incredibly important to the health of all kinds of people and Bears are no exceptions to this. The kind of food that people prefer is another fascinating reflection of their constitution and it is noticeable that most Bears prefer foods that are denser and moister than lighter or dryer options.

There is nothing wrong with following your nature and, so long as the Bear is in good health they should certainly follow their instincts and eat what they most enjoy. That said, it must be acknowledged that many Bear constitutions grow to develop problems in their health that are related to their diet:

Allergies & intolerances

If a Bear constitution has a history of eczema or asthma &/or if they show such classic signs as dark rings under the eyes, cracks in the corners of the mouth or a characteristic tendency to a bloated belly after eating certain foods, then it may be of much value to look into the possibility of a food allergy or intolerance being a core issue. This area in health is rife with misinformation and dodgy methods of diagnosis so, if it needs exploring, carefully read the article on allergy & intolerance here

Balancing the sugars

Some constitutions can happily go without food for extended periods but not so Bears, if they go too long without eating they can get very irritable and out of sorts. They must avoid hypoglycaemia, i.e. low blood sugars, and one of the best ways to get on top off this is to have a good amount of protein in the morning in the form of things like eggs, cheese, nuts or seeds.

Too much sugar is just as harmful as too little and the Bear constitution must be aware that they can be prone to the metabolic syndrome, which shows in signs such as gaining weight around the middle and getting raised blood pressure or cholesterol levels, this inportant subject is written up in detail here

Food pyramid for the metabolic syndrome


Bear Fitness & Exercise

Of all the different constitutions, Bears are notably the least likely to maintain regular exercise. If asked, the most common reason given is that they simply find it a bit boring! Sometimes, the best question for a Bear to ask themself in this regard can be 'what kind of exercise would I find the most interesting or engaging?'

Many Bears do especially with short bursts of high intensity training. Equally, they can sustain many different kinds of sustained exercise or sport so long as they are sufficienty 'into it'.

For most people, their health and fitness are a gift for the first half of their lives, and then they have to start earning it! In this regard, mental fitness is no different, or less important, than physical fitness, and finding the best ways to keep our minds active and engaged clearly makes an enormous difference to our quality of life as we age.

For any constitution, depending on their case and individual challenges, I sometimes ask the question "what have you been studying or learning about lately?" If a person's mind becomes 'set' in its thinking and manner of experiencing the world, the result is no different than if they were to stop moving or stretching their body; there is a stiffness, a rigidity, a hardness that can develop.

The danger is to be in denial of this being an issue when it really is a problem because, if there is a conscious choice to remain open to a journey that has no final destination, then the means to remaining young and alive in spirit are as many and varied as the unlimited creativity of life itself!

People can keep vibrantly good mental health into great old age, but only if they maintain their mental fitness. There is no one right way to do this anymore than there is one right way to exercise the body. That said, and by way of example, it is notable that Bears are the most likely of all the constitutions to have been good readers in their lives, though many then put books aside when their lives became too busy. A good book is like a 'medicine for the mind' and it has often been seen that a return to reading engaging and absorbing literature has a transformative effect on a too-stressed or too-serious Bear.


Bear Rest & Relaxation

Along with diet and exercise, one of the greatest determinants of health and happiness is how well people are able to rest, relax and sleep.

Most Bears have a pattern where there are times that they need either more or less sleep than others. The difference in how much sleep is needed can be as much as a couple of hours and the length of the shorter or longer sleep cycle can go from just a few days to whole weeks at a time.

Aside from the variability factor, on average, Bears have less trouble than any of the other constitutions in getting to sleep easily and getting good sleep. It can also be observed that the Bear constitution takes their comfort very seriously and are usually good at getting into a well-relaxed state when needed!

This said, if anxiety or insomnia ever become a real problem, those states can cause the Bear more harm more quickly than just about anyone too. If this ever becomes an issue, there are some effective strategies to help anxiety that are discussed here and to help insomnia discussed here


Bear Health & Medicine

Health really is our most valuable possession. However, hardly anyone gets the truth of that until they've lost it, at least for a while. Hopefully, what is lost can always be found and, unless a person is born with a problem, then there is every chance they can find a solution for it, which can definitely happen if they treat the cause of it.

This can be the great value of recognising the patterns of our differences via the constitutional approach, which in turn equally ties in with another way of seeing what can help, or obstruct, the self- healing process by understanding that each and every one of us has within us a 'healing cycle' that we move through in the course of our daily lives and that it is always when one part of that cycle is repeatedly blocked or out of balance that we become unable to self-correct what's gone wrong.

The above discussions on nutrition, fitness and rest/relaxation have already gone into material that affects 3 of the 4 stages of the healing cycle, the 4th is about 'cleansing', and it is this area that most often needs some initial attention in a person who has become chronically unwell. Bears are no exception to this and, even though they may have maintained a clean diet and environment, many show the classic signs of 'encumbrance' when first met. However, with the aid of some sure remedies from Nature, they almost always begin to make rapid progress when this essential part of the healing cycle is given the attention it needs.

If you personally need to delve into this subject further, then the subject of internal cleansing is discussed in more detail here. Likewise, the fascinating and vital subject of the healing cycle is introduced and described further here

I don't want to describe the potential health problems that Bears are particularly prone to, it would make for a most gloomy list and none of it may ever be personally relevant to you! However, if there is something you are troubled by now, or want to know more about, you can see the health problems I've had positive experience with treating in the A-Z of health conditions found here

On the other hand, I do want to highlight some of the tried and true remedies from Nature that can be of particular help to Bears if used wisely and when needed.

A Bear who has become too cool in their core can respond especially well to herbs such as Ginger, Turmeric and Cayenne. Many Bears are prone to digestive disturbance and can get much help from herbs such as Fennel, Chamomile, Cramp Bark and Lobelia. Likewise, the great nervine tonics, such as Withania, Ginseng & St John's wort and Withania have been of great help in times of need.

Excess dampness in the body can present a fertile field for micro-organisms and a Bear who gets run down with infections or whose immune systems become over-sensitive and allergic should read about the immune herbs described here.

Those are just a very few examples, so long as it is clearly understood that, at different times and with different problems, any herb may potentially be of help to any constitution, to see what else is particularly well-suited to Bears, there are further patterns shown in the chart on constitutional medicines found here.

Echinacea angustifolia


~ Tigers: Hotter & Damper

~ Eagles: Hotter & Dryer

~ Elephant/Butterfly: Cooler & Dryer

~ Bears: Cooler & Damper

~ Back to Constitutional Medicine Introduction

~ Working out your Constitution

~ Origins & Adaptations of Constitutional Medicine

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd