Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to gain insight into the relationships of daily deliberative dissonance acting (DDA) with daily strain and daily work engagement. DDA refers to the deliberate acting of emotions to achieve one’s work goals. The authors hypothesized that daily DDA would be positively related to strain through feelings of emotional dissonance. In addition, the authors predicted that DDA would be positively related to daily work engagement via job accomplishment. Design/methodology/approach –The authors applied a five-day quantitative diary design with two measurement occasions per day using a sample of 54 police officers (i.e. 270 measurement occasions). In the multilevel analyses, the authors controlled for previous levels of the dependent variables in order to analyse change. Findings – Multilevel analyses revealed that police officers deliberatively engaged in emotional labor with both detrimental and beneficial consequences, as assessed via their daily reports of strain and work engagement. Practical implications – The results suggest that acting emotions is not inherently harmful, but may also be beneficial for job accomplishment, which fosters work engagement. The training of police officers and possibly other service employees should include the topic of DDA as a form of emotional labor and its consequences for psychological well-being. Social implications – Police officers who accomplish their job tasks by acting the appropriate emotions may not only experience strain, but may also become more engaged in their work. Originality/value – The present study showed that police officers engage in deliberate dissonance acting. The authors showed how this emotion regulation technique is related to strain and engagement – on a daily basis.