Organisms and their cells are constantly exposed to environmental fluctuations. Among them are stressors, which can induce macromolecular damage that exceeds a set threshold, independent of the underlying cause. Stress responses are mechanisms used by organisms to adapt to and overcome stress stimuli. Different stressors or different intensities of stress trigger different cellular responses, namely induce cell repair mechanisms, induce cell responses that result in temporary adaptation to some stressors, induce autophagy or trigger cell death. Studies have reported life-prolonging effects of a wide variety of so-called stressors, such as oxidants, heat shock, some phytochemicals, ischemia, exercise and dietary energy restriction, hypergravity, etc. These stress responses, which result in enhanced defense and repair and even cross-resistance against multiple stressors, may have clinical use and will be discussed, while the emphasis will be on the effects/cross-effects of oxidants.