Conquer your social anxiety by learning the art of small talk: How fake confidence and keeping eye contact for a few seconds can work wonders

The festive party season is over for another year. And while some will have relished the chance to socialise, those with social anxiety disorder will, undoubtedly, be glad to see the back of it.

The condition, thought to affect more than seven million people in the UK to some degree, turns supposedly fun gatherings into torturous experiences.

The mere thought of trying to strike up conversations with strangers is enough to trigger nausea, sweating, heart palpitations and stomach upsets.

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