Bears: Constitutionally Cooler & Damper

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nosce te ipsum - know thyself

One of the most extraordinary things about life is its seemingly endless ability to be creative. We can see this, perhaps clearer than anywhere, in how every human being that is, or ever was, is remarkably, entirely unique. You who are reading this are one of a kind, so is each of your friends, your family, everyone you know. The complexity within each one of us that allows for such individuality is something truly incredible, unlimited...

Therefore, we categorise each other at the immediate peril of losing sight of this wonder. As soon as we divide each other up into male, female, race, age, nationality etc. we can lose the understanding of what matters most; our individuality, our creativity, our free will to shape our thinking and our way, regardless of where we came from.

So, why bring constitutions into the picture? Partly it is because throughout history so many cultures have come to such similar understandings about our nature to be hotter or cooler, and at the same time dryer or damper, and that these tendencies are regardless of age, race, sex etc. Largely it is because a constitutional understanding gives such useful insights into what kinds of food, herbs, exercise & rest can form a solid foundation under a person's most valuable possession, their health and the entire intention behind this work is to help a person regain that precious health whenever it has been lost.

For interest, and perhaps insight, a mere two personality traits have been picked out to demonstrate some key themes that tend to play out in each constitution but it must be understood that these can only be a small part of the whole and that none of this is meant to put any kind of limits on the unique, living example of unlimited creativity that is you. So long as we understand each other on this point, do read on...

The Bear Personality

With respect to the endless diversity of each and every Bear, there are two personality traits that repeatedly shine through; namely their potent disposition towards both intensity and loyalty.


It is quite common for people to get a wrong, or only partially correct, first impression when they meet a Bear. They may see a cool exterior but also sense a deep thinker, someone who is taking things in, and sometimes that can feel a little unnerving! However, the seeming coolness of a Bear is not a lack of warmth or an unwillingness to be friendly, rather it is about how their energy tends to direct internally.

One of the key Bear personality traits that relates to this natural direction is their intensity, this can manifest in all kinds of different ways so, to illustrate it without using a specific example, if you who are reading this are a Bear, think of something you are 'into' and then compare yourself with other people who are kind of into the same thing - there is probably more than a small difference...

All Bears eventually realise that they have an innate quality of intensity that goes deeper than the norm. Whether people around them get it or not, a Bear should never pretend to themselves that they can live life on the surface; better to let their nature take them in deep to whatever it is their heart desires.


Bears typically make exceptionally loyal bonds with just a few people. They are people who earn trust and it means a great deal to them that others are trustworthy too.
Make friends with a Bear and you can have a friend for life but break faith with them and you may never know how deep you have hurt them.

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 become 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.

The great strength of loyalty is its potential to help a person commit to a person or a path and see it through to the end. What that goal might be is always a matter of personal choice however, everyone is looking for love at some level in their lives. Not all, but many Bears can be seen to be on a kind of internal journey, one that takes them from their heads to their hearts. They are people who have a lot of love to give along with their loyalty.

Cave & Forest

The combinations of qualities in a Bear, including their nature to be inwardly intense but strongly connected to others, creates an interesting and sometimes challenging mix. It can be seen that virtually all Bear constitutions must learn how to live in two worlds, one that could be called the 'cave' and the other the 'forest'.

The 'cave' represents both the body and the home, or perhaps just the bedroom. The cave is where the Bear does not need to be 'on' or 'up'. They can relax, perhaps stop talking or talk little, go inwards, find some peace. The cave can potentially be a joyful, calm, comforting and comfortable place, or it can be a dark, dank and thoroughly miserable place of isolation! The difference may have nothing 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 give their attention to when they are there.

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 loving the forest and wanting to stay there, in which case they inevitably burn out and start hating their work or obligations! The forest is a place 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 live in two worlds, go gently from one to the other. They must learn to go along with their natural rhythms, their cycles, and not to pick a side.


By nature, a Bear always has strong feelings about the people they live or work with and when one or more of those relationships is not going well, and the problem is not being dealt with, then on the 'how-bad' scale, it's probably going to be terrible.

The biggest obstacle for most people from the Bear constitution in this regard is simply not expressing themselves. Bears can be terrible brooders, they may stew on things overlong and then come down suddenly and unexpectedly hard on the object of their thoughts.

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 better to lose your cool than it is to lose your health and happiness. The hardest emotion to deal with in relationships is anger, or 'frustration' to use the more polite word for it. This is deep work, and it requires a truly committed partner, but if the steps are followed, a healthy destination is certain, more 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, moister or chewier than lighter, dryer or airier 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 directly 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


If there is a chronic, stuck health problem along with such characteristic signs as bad skin, a heavy coating on the tongue and a low or grumpy mood, then it has often been seen that an internal cleanse can be nothing short of transformative. The article 'what is detoxification' goes into more detail 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 subject is written up in detail here

Food pyramid for the metabolic syndrome



Everyone knows they should keep mentally and physically active but many people struggle to succeed in this area, not least because they may have been trying to do things that just don't suit their constitutional nature.


Of all the different constitutions, Bears are the least likely to maintain regular exercise for the simple reason that they find it boring. If you who are reading this are a Bear and you aren't doing anything, or not nearly enough, then the one question you must ask yourself is 'what kind of exercise would I find the most interesting or engaging?'

Don't focus on 'enjoyable' that might come later, you just have to find something that is sufficiently non-boring. Sometimes the best approach is short bursts of high intensity training and sometimes the answer lies in finding a way to entertain the brain while the body goes through its motions.


Bear constitutions must feed and exercise their brains or they can get into a distinctly negative head-space. Feeding the brain can take many forms but 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 Bear who was in a bad way internally.

Exercising the brain is equally variable. Some can keep mentally fit with brain-gym activities such as Bridge, Chess, crosswords, puzzles, or Internet based programs such as Lumosity or Elevate. Others do better with more structured learning in groups or with tutors. If you are a Bear, and you want to be happy and healthy into your old age, then don't stop learning and do keep mentally fit.


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 very effective strategies to help anxiety that are discussed here and to help insomnia here


Bear Medicine

For one reason or another, there will eventually be times in the life of most Bears when they will be perplexed by some troublesome and possibly rather lingering health problems. If and when that happens, they should know that there are some tried and true remedies from Nature that can be of tremendous help if used wisely.

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.

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.

Those are just a 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. There may also be some valuable insights to be found from reading the section on the 'cycle of healing' 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