As the demographics of the modern world skew older, understanding and mitigating the effects of aging is increasingly important within biomedical research. Recent studies in model organisms demonstrate that the aging process is frequently modified by an organism’s ability to perceive and respond to changes in its environment. Many well-studied pathways that influence aging involve sensory cells, frequently neurons, that signal to peripheral tissues and promote survival during the presence of stress. Importantly, this activation of stress response pathways is often sufficient to improve health and longevity even in the absence of stress. Here, we review the current landscape of research highlighting the importance of cell non-autonomous signaling in modulating aging from C. elegans to mammals. We also discuss emerging concepts including retrograde signaling, approaches to mapping these networks, and development of potential therapeutics.