An on-line dictionary defines distraction as: a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.
Here's an example of a distraction. You go into a convenience store for a cup of coffee, or a bottle of water, or both. You are in line to pay, not giving the moment your full attention, when a man waving a pistol bursts inside and screams, "This is a hold up..."
Instantly you are in the moment. You have been distracted by an event outside your area of control. You consider ways to live through the distraction and implement them. Chances are good that you will succeed.
The same on-line dictionary defines diversion as: an instance of turning something aside from its course.
Here's an example. Same convenience store scene without a holdup man. You go in the store, walk to the coffee pot, and find it empty. Immediately you begin to run the old familiar, what-is-this-world-coming-to-scenario as you walk the long cooler, looking for your favorite bottled water. They don't have it. Your familiar mental scenario picks up a beat and begins to add new material: you are two payments behind in the mortgage, the kid needs braces, the SUV needs tires, and your wife needs a man who cares, like your next door neighbor, Lance...
You walk up to the counter to complain about the lack of coffee just as the normally quiet background scenario hits a mind-numbing crescendo and instead of complaining, you scream, "THIS IS A HOLDUP..."
A distraction can kill you, but more often than not, it won't, if you keep your head and act rationally.
A diversion, on the other hand, will kill you, maybe a little at a time over the years, or maybe in an instant, like in the example.
A distraction is someone else's diversion that has gotten out of control. They are usually easy to spot and almost as easy to move away from.
A personal diversion is your own erroneous belief system running amuck, and, if you don't catch it quickly, you'll be its victim. Death by diversion is form of suicide that can be avoided by early recognition and immediate treatment.
Distraction or Diversion - know the difference - know the treatment - apply it quickly.